Every debt collector understands the frustration of dealing with a debtor who gives excuse after excuse to avoid paying their debts. It can be difficult to tell if a debtor is telling the truth or simply attempting to buy themselves time; however, there are some strategies debt collectors can employ to figure out what’s really going on. Here are a few strategies to reduce the number of excuses collectors hear from debtors:
- Find out if the excuse is legitimate. This may seem obvious, but many collectors make the mistake of believing every excuse they hear over the phone. Asking the right questions can help determine whether they have a real excuse or if they’re simply trying to push you off the phone
- Ensure the excuse can’t be used again. Some collectors fall into the trap of believing the same excuse again and again; instead, collection agents should address the debtor’s problem and find out what can be done so they can’t defer payment for that reason again.
- Try to predict a debtor’s next move. If you can get some idea of the next excuse the debtor is likely to use, you can “nip it in the bud,” so to speak. An important part in predicting a debtor’s next move is asking questions when on the phone with them. By doing some research into both the company and the debtor, collectors can prevent extra time spent waiting for the next excuse to be resolved.
- Perhaps most importantly, convey to the debtor that you are taking the matter seriously and that the bill or balance should be treated with urgency. If a debtor doesn’t believe the bill is being taken seriously, why would they put any effort into paying it? By coming across firmly and presenting the debtor with legitimate consequences for non-payment, he or she will be far more likely to make a payment rather than offer up another excuse.
By thinking ahead, debt collectors can significantly reduce the amount of time wasted by debtor excuses. Simply asking the right questions and knowing how to spot a phony excuse can lead to far higher customer satisfaction as accounts are collected much more efficiently. Agencies like The Kaplan Group train their collectors to understand the importance of avoiding false excuses while understanding when legitimate circumstances prevent a debtor from making payments; as a result, their debt collectors are able to recover money for their clients as quickly and effectively as possible.