Receivable/Accounts - Information for Credit and Collection Issues

Friday, May 11, 2012

Collection Tip – Be Honest About Being The Bad Guy

If you end up in a situation where the debtor is slandering your client or your company, or is beginning to escalate the call, often being honest about your role as the "bad guy” can diffuse the conflict between you and the other individual. It displays your role in the matter, and makes it clear this is a business transaction, and not personal.  It also displays that while you are playing the role of the "bad guy", you in fact are a decent person delivering the unpleasant consequences.

I should be clear – this doesn’t mean antagonizing the debtor. It certainly doesn’t mean bludgeoning them with your position of authority. What it means is restating your company’s official position, and your personal position as the credit manager, the collection agent, or legal agent. Often, polite honesty is the best way to cut to the heart of the matter and resolve an account.

Part of this tactic subtly reinforces your authority on the claim and the actions being taken, but allows you to personally display you are open to discussion (within your parameters), and that you are a reasonable individual. It separates the consequences of the debt from you as the individual, and diverts conflict away from the conversation at hand.

Don’t say:
“Mary, if you aren’t going to cooperate with my office, and pay this account in full, you leave me no choice but to take action on this claim.”

Try saying:
“Mary, I understand you are upset about owing this alleged outstanding amount, but please understand, my client says it is owed, and you say it isn’t. I represent our collection agency, and in turn our agency represents our client and their best interests – so we obviously must take their side in the matter. If you have proof to back up your statements and show this debt isn’t valid, I’d be happy to look at it, but otherwise, we have to respect our client’s instructions, which is securing payment in full or taking action on this claim. If you don't wish to resolve this matter, I personally understand and respect your position, but please realize what steps we are required to take in that case.”

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 or an email.

Blair Wettlaufer
Kingston Data and Credit
Cambridge, Ontario

1 comment:

  1. I love this! It helps guide the call to stay on point and the collector to show empathy and professionalism at the same time.