Receivable/Accounts - Information for Credit and Collection Issues

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Collection Tip – Watch Your Tone!

It happens all the time, if you aren’t watching – you call a consumer about a debt, and they get excited.  Inevitably, as they get more involved in the conversation, their pace of speaking increases, and their voices rise up an octave as their excitement and stress come through in their voice.

It’s perfectly natural when someone gets excited and their voice goes up in pitch, that we get excited in turn.  We start talking in a squeaky voice and talking quickly, because we want to be heard, we want to get our point across, and we get excited as well.  It’s a natural human behavior to mirror speech patterns with the people we are talking to – and sometimes it’s a good technique to build rapport.  However, in this case, by matching excitement, you are actually inciting the consumer, and validating their stress and excitement.

To diffuse a conversation, and keep everything on a level keel, it is so important to *not* mirror their tone and pace.

So, when a consumer raises the pitch of their voice explaining their reasons for not paying, or why they are upset at the original creditor (or you), you need to catch yourself and keep your speech paced at a reasonable rate, and try to keep your voice level and monotone.  This encourages calm responses, and does not convey to the consumer that they are controlling the conversation through emotion.

Taking an emotional hook isn’t just about raising your volume or stating an emotional point rather than a rational point – it is often all about your pacing and your tone that keeps the conversation on a level keel.

You can’t always calm an excited consumer down (which we talk about here), but you can certainly increase the odds of bringing the conversation back to a matter of a business transaction, and avoiding a confrontational situation by watching your tone.

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 DeMarco-Wettlaufer
Kingston Data and Credit
Cambridge, Ontario

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