Improving Your Telephone Collection Skills


There are hundreds of different types of situations when it comes to debt collection, but almost all of them involve a phone call at some point. Contacting debtors be telephone is one of the most common methods employed by debt collectors. It can also be one of the most successful methods when done correctly. If you are uncomfortable making the call or don’t know the details of the situation, there is far less chance that the call will be productive.

Getting comfortable with how to collect a debt through collection calls can be one of the quickest and easiest ways to increase your collection rate. Here are five key areas that you can work on to improve your success rate:

Get Your Facts Straight

One of the absolute easiest ways to improve your comfort level while making collection calls is to take a few minutes before the call to review the details of the particular account. Knowing the key details like the account balance, due date, and last payment information will allow you to sound much more confident during the call.

Having the facts right in front of you during the call will also allow you to provide evidence if the debtor attempts to question any aspect of the account. It can also be helpful to have more detailed information like the product purchased and the terms of the sale if that information is available to you.

Prepare For Common Excuses

Let’s face it; no one is excited to get a call from a debt collector. What is debt collection? Attempting to collect money from people who aren’t currently making payments.

That means that you can expect a large number of the debtors you call to attempt to get out of the call by giving you some sort of excuse. These excuses could be about the current timing of the call, or they might even question the accuracy of your information. Some debtors will even claim that you are calling a wrong number.

Any of these excuses might be successful if the debtor is speaking to a collector that is not prepared. However, a small amount of time preparing for excuses before the call can help shut these excuses down right away. What are some of the common excuses you hear from debtors? Take a few minutes and prepare responses for them before you place the call, then you won’t be caught off guard during the call.

Speak In A Professional Manner

The person you are attempting to collect from may or may not speak to you in a professional manner. You have no control over that. What you do have control over, is how you speak to them. It is important to speak in a manner that commands respect. Whether or not the debtor returns that respect is up to them.

In order to make sure that you are seen as a professional on the phone, you should never make a call while eating or chewing gum. You should also be very careful to speak slowly and carefully enunciate each of your words. Take the time to pause between sentences, and try implementing the practice of smiling while you talk. You will be surprised how much these small changes can impact your results.

Control The Conversation

Another area where you can work to improve your collection calls is by doing a better job of controlling the conversation. The first step here is to plan out ahead of time what you want to happen during the conversation. Once you understand your targeted outcome, you can take time to construct the questions you will ask to lead the debtors towards that outcome.

Some simple tips that can help you control the conversation include addressing the debtor by name, asking open-ended questions, taking detailed notes, and staying focused on your desired outcome.

Make Them Commit To Something 

The last area that you can focus on is forcing the debtor to commit to something. If they are not able to make a full payment, get them to agree to making a partial payment or scheduling a payment plan. Regardless of the level of the commitment, make them commit to some sort of progress on the account. If they are committing to send a payment, make sure you get the check number and confirmation of the date it will be sent.

Once they commit to something that you are satisfied with, summarize that commitment and confirm that they agree that they are committing to that action. Then, make sure you stress the importance of them following through with that action and list the consequences if they do not follow through. It is important that you follow through with those consequences if necessary.

By |2017-02-12T14:41:08+00:00November 12th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

About the Author:

Graduated from University of Utah - business degree 1990. Served in US Army as an interrogator / linguist, then as a tactical intelligence officer - Military Intelligence 1986-1990. Managed Western US sales operations for NY based collection agency 1990-1992. Founded Direct Recovery Associates, Inc. 1992-present