Receivable/Accounts - Information for Credit and Collection Issues

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Collection Tip - Be Careful What You Ask For

If you want to ask a question of a debtor, try to avoid asking a yes/no question whenever possible.  Especially if “no” will result in a failure to resolve the claim.  By asking a question that prevents resolution and cedes control over to the consumer, you are setting yourself up for failure, by taking a passive or reactionary role to the debtor, whether you intend to or not.  

Better to ask an “A/B” question, or a question asking for details or information, rather than a “yes/no” question – and always ask questions that you are prepared for any answer to.

Don’t say:

“Are you willing to pay this bill?”
“Are you currently employed?”
“Will you call me back tomorrow?”
“Do you have a chequing account to resolve this over the phone?”
“Will you be paying this in full?”

Try saying:

“Is this account going to be resolved voluntarily, or shall we send this file to our collection agency?”
“What is your current salary at ABC Corp?”
“What time will you call me back tomorrow?”
“I’m glad we can resolve this – I will wait while you go get your checkbook to take care of this.”
“I will process your payment in full today – what address would you like the receipt sent to?”

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.

Blair Wettlaufer
Kingston Data and Credit
Cambridge, Ontario

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