Last June, I uploaded a blog post with the answers to 5 frequently asked questions I’ve heard when training collectors across the United States.
Today, you’re getting more FAQ answers to up-level your everyday collections!
Whether you’re on the phone each day or you’re working behind the scenes, the answers to these questions may come in handy, so make sure to save this post to reference for later. If you’re in a supervisor role, share this post with your team to increase your collection floor’s consistency!
Disclaimer: all of the answers below are simply suggestions. Please refer to your agency’s policies when speaking to consumers and offering solutions.
Let’s jump right in with the first question to boost your motivation and prepare you for roadblocks you'll encounter on the phone with consumers.
Question: What do you say when a consumer accuses you of scamming them?
Answer: Usually, when the consumer accuses your agency of scamming them, it’s likely that you haven’t gotten them to confirm the right-party contact yet, so tread carefully here.
If the consumer hasn’t confirmed right-party contact, you could say the following:
“For confidentiality purposes, I need to confirm the correct person is on the phone.”
If the consumer has confirmed right-party contact and they’re still accusing you of scamming them, you can give them your company website or ask them to visit your Better Business Bureau profile so they can verify that your company is legitimate.
Question: What do you say when the consumer wants to pay the client rather than your agency?
Answer: Ultimately the best route in these situations is to avoid words like “can’t” and “won’t” and focus on solutions instead. After all, consumers who insist on paying the client instead are often feeling hostile or defensive, so we can use empathetic communication to build trust and prime them for a solution.
At my agency, when a consumer feels hostile and insists they want to pay the client instead, we like to reroute the conversation by putting distance between their initial request and our response. We don’t immediately quote policy or say “no.” Instead, we ask them to update their demographic information. This gives the consumer time to process what they're feeling and experiencing, and it allows the collector to think of an effective solution.
By the end of the call, if the consumer decides to go ahead and pay your agency, that’s great! If they don’t, that’s their decision. The key is to keep moving the call forward with empathetic communication and use consumers who don’t intend to pay as opportunities to move on to consumers who do.
Question: What do you say when the consumer is threatening to hang up?
Answer: Your job is to ask for payment in full. Sometimes, the consumer isn’t interested in paying in full. Sometimes, they’re frustrated and just need you to hear their concerns.
If a consumer doesn’t want to let you speak, try to validate their emotions when you can. After all, the number one human emotional need is to feel heard and understood, and the consumer cannot move on in the conversation until they’ve checked the box in their mind that you truly do hear and understand them.
The number one human emotional need is to feel heard and understood.
Also, start to develop a strategy for helping consumers who want to hang up habitually. For example, you could use a strategy to address the elephant in the room.
If a consumer is so angry that you can’t seem to break down their wall, ask a feeling question:
“How is your current financial situation affecting you?”
When you ask someone how they feel, it’s a miracle how fast they open up to you. Listen to what they say, and use their answer to turn the conversation around.
If the consumer does ultimately hang up, that’s ok. It gives you the opportunity to move on to the next consumer and collect payment from them.
Any More Questions?
When I train collectors through The Collection Advantage online training program, part of the process includes live coaching with me. That means collectors get to ask me their pressing questions, and I provide them detailed answers, including scripting examples they can use while on the phone with consumers.
Are you interested in bringing the program to your agency? If so, I’d love to hear from you! Book a call with me today, and we’ll get your team started!