Tips For Bill Collectors Informative - New and Experienced Collector Tips
I received an E-mail today, from a new collector for NCO. I was asked for some advice for a beginner collector who wants to be successful. Although I have not disclosed it on this site before, I have taken a big part in the training of new hires for NCO for the past 5 years. Here are some of the tips I always include during their training:
The first thing a collector should always remember, is to treat each person on the phone with the respect they would want if it were them. Not only the debtor them self, but also 3rd parties.
Study and LEARN your FDCPA and State Laws. Many collectors are unaware that they can be named in a lawsuit against their company for up to $1,000.00 per violation. If you're not sure if you should say it, then chances are, you shouldn't.
Every phone call should be treated as if it is being recorded. Every collector should request to be recorded on a few calls for training purposes. You would be surprised to hear yourself as others hear you when they are on the other end of the phone. I've always found this method very useful and seen individual productivity improve from simply listening to them self.
No one can make you break the law! You should be well trained of the collection laws before you get onto the collection floor...they are on the other end of a phone, not a gun.
If a debtor starts to verbally abuse you, tell them in a calm voice, "If you continue to use this type of language, I will disconnect the call"...if they continue give them one more calm warning. If you find you do have to end the call, be sure to tell them, "I am ending this call, have a nice day" then hang up. You should NEVER just hang the phone up without giving the warning or reason for your hang up. Just hanging up on a debtor will be seen as harassment. You do not have to sit an listen to the abuse.
You're other choice to handle a verbally abusive debtor...let them get if off their chest, once they see you are not going to argue back, they will calm down 90% of the time, they will even apologize before the end of the call. They are on the defense as soon as they know you're calling for a payment. Once they calm down, explain the reason for the call and continue the collection call.
Never assume everyone is in debt because they choose to be. If you're on an automatic dialer, you don't have time to listen to their reasons for 30 minutes...but you should get an understanding of their situation. Is it temporary such as laid off, on medical or maternity leave? Is it permanent such as terminal illness in which they have alot of medical expenses? Once you find out if it is temp or perm you can offer whatever your agency has available...hardships, soldiers and sailors program, and it will help you determine the best payment arrangement when a payment in full is not an option for them.
8 hours everyday on a dialer can be wearing on you...if a debtor upsets you...sign off for a few minutes, go to the restroom and regroup yourself. The debtor doesn't know you personally, they only know you are trying to get money from them that they don't feel they have. You have to put behind you each call as it ends. Take each call as if it is your first call of the day. If you carry over your anxiety from the call before, then that person is going to sense it and take it as an attitude toward them. They can hear a smile over the phone.
Good luck to the new collectors.