Reprinted by permission of The Kaplan Group
Some of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to collect on unpaid debt is communicating in an unprofessional, impolite, or potentially illegal manner. Being in debt and collecting debt can both be stressful situations and there are numerous laws around debt communications. Learning best practices for communicating with those who owe you money is essential to recovering that money.
The phone is generally seen as the most effective and efficient way of collecting an unpaid debt. Some general rules to follow:
- Be polite and professional.
No gum chewing, eating, or web surfing while calling. Use please and thank you, and introduce yourself. One trick receptionists have used for years is to smile while on the phone. You’d be amazed at the difference it can make in your voice.
- Call at the right time of day.
Some people work mornings, others don’t come into the office until the afternoon. By knowing when the debtor is available to talk on the phone, you can avoid playing phone tag. Simply asking the debtor (either in an early voicemail or when you speak to him or her on the phone for the first time or by email) what time they are generally available to speak can save a significant amount of your time.
Dean Kaplan is Principal at The Kaplan Group. Dean’s expertise is widely recognized in the debt collection industry. His advice has been published in a number of industry newsletters such as Credit Today and InsideARM and he is a frequent speaker at industry events.