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Trust and the Collection Agency: Not an Oxymoron

Despite their reputation, today's collection agency must approach the work in a way that reflects their client's core...

Accounts Receivable Management

Despite their reputation, today’s collection agency must approach the work in a way that reflects their client’s core values and integrity.

You’ve heard the stories about collection agency staff that harass a past-due balance holder to the point where the agency receives a slap on the wrist from federal regulators. This is usually in the form of a hefty fine levied not at the collection agency, but at the client that hired them.

It’s gotten so bad that using the word “trust” in the same sentence with “collection agency” is considered an oxymoron in most consumer settings.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

This post will explore how a skilled collection agent builds trust to leverage payment. Fly by night companies have damaged the trust traditionally built between collection agencies and clients. The collection agency is an extension of your brand, which means it’s important to partner with a reputable agency – one that treats customers with respect and that is compliant with all governing rules and regulations.

Building Trust with a Collection Agency

You may think it’s impossible to use a collection agency to build your company reputation. That’s because unethical practices have created their own form of disruption to an industry that has a very difficult job; walking a tightrope between collecting on past due balances, while making sure your reputation isn’t damaged.

However, a skilled collection agency can build rapport with your customers even when collecting on a debt. Call Center Helper defines some of the techniques we use at TSI to create camaraderie and respect so that past-due clients will be more likely to respond:

  • Show empathy
    Whether a business or an individual holds the past-due balance, you would be amazed at how showing a little empathy for the situation can help build trust. Call center teams at any collection agency would do well to put themselves in the shoes of the debtor for just a moment. It always sets the right tone when working with any customer.
  • Understand the person’s priorities
    Many times past-due balances stem from a crisis; a job loss, or medical debt. Understanding the “why” behind the debt is important for recognizing how far to push the debtor and where debt payment stands in relationship to all of their other priorities in life.
  • Allow the debtor to vent
    A collection agency deals with angry past-due account holders frequently. Understanding that sometimes the best method for building trust is to simply let your client vent for a moment before bringing them back to reality, is a very good way to earn their trust.

A simple communication from the company to the past due account holder can inform the consumer that his or her account has been sent to debt collection and (insert collection agency name) will be contacting them to set up a payment arrangement. TSI works with our clients to craft these careful communications in a way that acknowledges the debt owed in a respectful way that makes the debtor feel less ashamed. Believe it or not, sometimes it’s that simple.

Improving collections means also helping your clients understand their responsibilities in a respectful way that will encourage them to make the effort to take care of a past due account. That’s why building trust with your past-due customers is a crucial part of TSI training.

To learn more about how to optimize your revenue in an ethical, yet effective way, contact us.

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