As a business owner, accounts receivable manager or collection agent, there are many challenging and sensitive phone calls you need to make on a regular basis.
Money isn’t just one of the leading causes of relationship troubles; it’s also one of the primary causes of emotional anguish and uncomfortable phone calls. At Alacrity Collections Corporation, we handle difficult phone calls every day. Here are some of our best tips for communicating on sensitive matters over the phone.
Be Prepared Before You Dial
You should always have any required files, notes and background in front of you before you start dialing. Even in a situation where the customer is ready and willing to pay, you will still need to know how much they owe and other details. You should also lay the groundwork for any follow-up calls by taking great notes on what you discuss over the phone. There are few things more frustrating to customers and clients than needing to repeat the same story multiple times.
Don’t Jump to Conclusions
If you are making the first collection call, you should focus on confirming that the customer knows the invoice is unpaid, not coming in hot to have a confrontation. In many cases, customers forget to pay invoices, or passed the invoice to someone else on their team who didn’t make the payment, while the decision maker doesn’t know the money is still owed. Always listen to the customer and make an effort to understand what might have happened, not to tell them what you think happened.
Be Kind, But Stay in Control
Coming at the difficult phone call from a positive perspective always helps. If you are friendly and polite, the person that you are speaking with might respond better. Showing an empathetic and caring attitude can encourage the customer to find the money if they have left it unpaid due to hardship. Or they will pay you before others once their financial situation improves, instead of pushing the customer to a defensive or apathetic space.
That being said, you should always stay in control of the conversation. If a customer thinks that you’ll give an inch, there’s a good chance they will ask for a mile to see if you’ll give them that too.
Be Able to Recognize a Hard Call
It’s easy to think of difficult phone calls as those that go to people who yell, stonewall or berate the one calling. However, there are plenty of other things that can make a phone call hard. People who ramble, those in legitimately tragic situations and people who are distracted can all be hard to carry on a conversation with. If you can’t make it work, don’t be afraid to ask for a better time to call.
The more difficult you think a conversation is going to be, the more time you should spend preparing for it. Have detailed notes ready, determine what you want the outcome of the conversation to be and possibly even role play it with someone else.
Alacrity Collections Can Handle Your Difficult Phone Calls
Alacrity Collections is proud to be a leader in collections. We achieve optimal results that are over twice the national average and treat every customer with dignity and respect. We work tirelessly to protect your brand and improve your net returns. To learn more about our services and get in touch, please call us at 1-800-752-9663 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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