Collection Agencies - the script Informative - The collectors Script
Found this article - Jim Finucan is an collection industry insider that is selling a book online for a tidy sum per copy, with gems like the excerpt below in it;
The script below is what an ideal collections call SHOULD entail. While it's condescending and arrogant…it's good to have an idea of what those pesky collectors are getting at. Most collectors tend to stray from the script and wing it after a few roadblocks. That's where the violations start building up. Since Jim spent so much time and energy compiling his information, and so many of the people who are supposed to follow his lead aren't doing so, I figured it's your jobs as consumers to weed out those that can't follow the guidelines he's outlined. Now…this is actually pertaining to a commercial collections call to a small business…but if you've ever been contacted by a collector…you've heard similar things before they got nasty.
It's a question from a collector to Jim Finucan (Say his name out loud several times quickly…JiM-Finuken - JIMFINUKEN! JIM-FI-NUKEN!!! It sounds like what the main bad-ass in a kung-fu movie might scream right before he cuts a shogun's head off….AYE-YAAA-JIMFINUKEN! (splat) Moving right along after that immaturity.
Jim: How can I be sure that I've gotten to the heart of the problem when I suspect the debtor is being insincere, or even dishonest?
A) Use a technique called ""funneling." It's a method of questioning that begins on a broad level and becomes more specific as you progress. Narrow in and focus on the response you're getting until your suspicions are either confirmed or you can accept the debtor's excuses as genuine.
HERE'S MY FIRST INTERUPTION: How many collectors that are just shown their desk/phone and told to 'start collecting' could even read that sentence? Now…from that number - how many can actually cognitively grasp this concept. From that number - how many can actually do it? It's harder than one might think. That's why they have scripts - see below.
Jim goes on to write:
A typical conversation might go something like this:
"Is there anything preventing you from sending the check for the balance tomorrow?"
"I can't send it tomorrow; I won't be in the office."
"That's hardly a problem; you could mail it out tonight, before you leave. Do you agree?" (WWMES -
"I told you, I just can't."
"You mean, I provide the services to you when you need them and you're the kind of person who won't pay because you don't have the time? Is that right?
"No, it's not like that."
"Then you need to tell me now what it is like. What is it, that's stopping you from taking care of this obligation and leaving yourself exposed to legal action?"
"The company just doesn't have the funds available."
"All right, Tom," (Note that the story is changing here. This reason is either more accurate or another stall tactic.) "What I need you to understand is that excuse doesn't concern me one way or the other. When your company needs funds to continue operating what do you do? That check needs to be in the mail by tomorrow at the latest."
And regardless of his answer, find out which bills are being paid and which ones are not - and why yours is one of those not on the "pay" list.
Funneling down into an excuse with a more precise line of questioning uncovers the true intentions of a debtor. In fact, this technique actually helps the debtor see himself acting in a way that is not congruent with his own beliefs. That exposure will help him make more honest and forthright decisions in the future.
If something doesn't feel right during a collections call question it! Throw a whole series of sharp, penetrating questions at it until it cracks. Then both sides can identify and solve the sense of the problem.
Just thought everyone would like to see an example of what the collectors are told to be do on the phone. In most regards, this is a pretty good technique. Make sure you don't talk yourself into a corner - keep your answers focused on getting a CA to validate. Don't give out any personal info. Don't offer any info. Most new, and/or bad collectors tend to get flustered when YOU don't follow THEIR script. They're expecting excuses. Don’t give them any. Go on the offensive and make them answer your questions. Your business isn't their business until they prove it is…which most times they cannot. They ask you to reveal personal info that could be used to defraud you - despite your past pitfalls with credit, and finances, you aren't required to offer up info to CA's that, in the wrong hands, could screw up your situation even more. That's all it comes down to. You need your money more than they do. Utilities, food, Mortgages/Rent - all of these things always take priority over whatever the CA is asking for. When you're in a position to do so, you can choose work with a CA - IF they can prove you owe them money; it's not dishonest…it's common sense.