Any collection agency staff member with experience knows that occasionally, you end up in a circular conversation. This can be a promise payment/failed arrangements/promise payment/failed arrangement scenario, or it can happen inside a single conversation, where a debtor wants to go over the same issues over and over.
The most important thing you can do to prevent a circular situation is to *start* your conversation with a strong A/B choice. This is not only a good practice for presenting a debt in a non-confrontational tone, it allows control of the conversation by directing the consumer to make a choice. Typically, for third party collections this should be a presentation of the debt and the consequences for non-payment.
Circumstance where a debtor chooses not to resolve the debt and suffer the consequences are honestly rare -- more common scenarios are debtors who attempt to delay or drag out the collection process, either arguing minutae, or making arrangements they cannot or will not follow through on. In circumstances like this, you want to enforce a deadline, but you also need to remind the debtor of the original presentation of choice as a soft boundary to get the conversation back online, rather than a hard boundary confrontation.
When a circular situation comes up, it’s important to break the cycle and restart the conversation with your initial A/B scenario.
“Frank, I can appreciate your position here, but the original reason for calling you on November 16th was to find out if you are paying this debt owed to ABC company on a voluntary basis, or whether reporting the debt to the credit bureau is necessary. We’ve spent several telephone conversations on this matter, and you have made multiple promises to take care of this, but it still remains unresolved. I have to ask you for a final position – are you resolving this matter no later than February 8th, or shall we report this item to Trans Union and Equifax?”
If you are a fellow credit and collections industry colleague and want to discuss collection techniques, or are a client who want to discuss our approach to collecting debt, which we refer to as the APPRAISE process, feel free to give us a call.
Kingston Data and Credit – www.kingstondc.com