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Call Flow, Cash Flow, and the Future of Collections

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

What if I told you there was a way to collect more money and create happier consumers?

There is! And it has to do with your call flow.

To me, establishing effective call flow means creating a path to an agreement.

In the collection industry, there still tends to be this idea that whoever has the better “talk off” – the consumer or the collector – wins the call.

Have you ever considered that there might be a less exhausting and more optimistic way to get consumers to pay?

Just the word “talk off” feels exhausting, almost like we’re trying to wear down the consumer until he pays. That always causes conflict. The consumer may eventually pay, but it’s going to take longer to get him to that point and cause a lot of stress.

The way I see it, everything you say, every word you speak as a collector affects the direction of where the call is headed.

Creating effective call flow involves choosing words and phrases and presenting information in a way that’s always going to move the call forward as opposed to backward.

One big thing I want you to understand is that connection always moves the call forward and conflict always moves it backward.

As we look to cultivate a new culture of empathy in the collection industry, one way to get there is by focusing on what creates connection as opposed to what creates conflict.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the things that move a call backward (cause conflict) and move it forward (create connection).

What moves a call backward?

  • Being demanding – Not providing the consumer with any alternative solutions or highlighting the problem rather than a solution.

  • Being argumentative – Starting disagreements with consumers (putting your boxing gloves on).

  • Lecturing and/or reciting policy – Using phrases like You should have done this… or Unfortunately, our policy is… .

  • Using negative language Words like no, not, can’t, won’t, however and unfortunately lead to call-flow traps.

  • Guilt-tripping – Making the consumer feel like his problem or concerns are his fault.

What moves a call forward?

  • Stating what you need and can do

  • Communicating the next steps

  • Using positive language like The great news is..., What I can do for you is…

  • Making the consumer feel heard and understood

Slight shifts in communication can make a huge difference in call flow and consumers’ willingness to pay! Check out this earlier blog post for a scripting example.

Effective call flow also requires critical thinking

As collectors, we want to reverse-engineer the flow of the call to get the outcome we’re looking for.

What I mean by that is, we need to start by imagining the outcome we want for the call. For example, we need to ask ourselves, Is our desired outcome collecting payment? Or maybe it’s to resolve a particular issue. Once we know the outcome we’re looking for, we can engineer the call flow to go down that path. While this requires some critical thinking, it's important to keep in mind that there's a solution to every problem.

Another way to think about this is to consider a GPS. When you use your GPS, you’re following directions and taking all of the right turns as opposed to when you don't chart out your course and you’re guessing.

When you plan out your course, you increase your chances of arriving at your destination.

When you don’t have a plan and you’re guessing, one wrong turn can set you off course. A few wrong turns can keep you from ever reaching your destination.

Likewise, without a plan, even the best collectors can get lost in a call or lose control of the conversation and never reach a deal.

Final thoughts

If this topic feels overwhelming to you because it’s new, I’ve got you covered. We will be talking more about call flow and critical thinking in future blog posts.

The bottom line is when you know what to say, when to say it, and how to say it, you will get through your collection calls more successfully and quickly.

Effective call flow = higher revenue and happier people.

If you want to know how to create a high-converting call flow that increases your revenue immediately, book a call with me today and check out my previous blog posts.

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