Not every call that you make as a collections agent is going to be an easy one. Being an agent means making a lot of difficult collections calls and handling complicated situations. When it comes to calls related to someone’s finances and debt, the potential for emotions to seep through is high.
No two calls are alike, so knowing how to handle consumers at a time of high emotions is essential for collecting on the call. Here are five techniques for handling difficult collections calls that will help you get through even the most difficult ones.
1. Listen carefully and take notes
The easiest way to make a call go downhill is to interrupt the person on the other end. When a consumer is upset and ranting, interrupting (even for a clarifying question) will only cause their emotions to heighten. Instead, take down notes of any questions or points you need to clarify after the consumer has finished talking. Not only will this let you hear the full story and give you a better idea of the issue at hand, but it will also help the person on the other end of the line feel better and that they are being heard.
2. Stay focused
If you’re about to run out to lunch or your brain is still focused on a difficult problem with another account, you won’t be able to focus properly on the call at hand. If you lose focus during the call, chances are you’ll make the situation worse. Consumers who are already emotional about a situation will become even more upset and difficult if you need to ask them to repeat themselves.
3. Be polite
It’s easy for a consumer who’s in a bad mood to transfer those feeling to the agent during the call. Even if you become irritated at the situation, you should always be polite and stay positive. Reminding yourself that there’s a story behind every call you’re making can help your calls run more smoothly.
4. Be prepared
A lack of preparation almost always results in a difficult call. Prior to the call, review all notes and files so that you are able to give the consumer all the information they need should the call escalate. It’s also a good idea to take notes throughout the conversation in case you need to backtrack during the call.
5. Let them call on their own terms
Sometimes the easiest way to handle a difficult call is to let the consumer call when they’re ready. Finances are a touchy subject, and if someone feels blindsided, they’re less likely to want to handle their debts. With DirectDrop Voicemail, a voicemail is sent directly to the consumer’s mobile phone, giving them the option to call back when it’s convenient for them.
To learn more about our DirectDrop Voicemail technology and how it can help you limit difficult collections calls, reach out to us here.