When you have a customer who hasn’t paid you, one of the most effective things you can do is get on the phone and call them. Although calls are certainly more intrusive than letters, they are much more direct and can help you get closer to your goal. Letters are easy to push to the side, but a collection call adds urgency and immediacy to the situation. When you are itching to get paid, give them a call. However, be wise in how you approach them. The best way to be successful is to prepare. A collection call script is the key to make sure your call goes just as you need.
1) Always Stay Calm & Professional
Whenever you are reviewing your collection call script, keep in mind what is most important – keeping calm. A collection call requires steady emotions during the conversation. Remain professional and never lose your temper. Keep yourself from posing any threats, as turning to anger can often make the other person on the line defensive or turn you off.
Remember, as your collection call script should clearly state, you are calling to “inquire” and not to “demand.” Ask your customer why they haven’t paid, and how you can help them.
2) Prepare Responses in Advance
During a collections call, it’s hard to predict the response. With that in mind, prepare for a number of scenarios. Given your past experiences in the business, and your knowledge of dealing with customers, sit down and map out all possible reactions you could have from customers. Then create a game plan of how you would respond to these reactions.
Include this as part of your collection call script, preparing for each type of customer: apologetic, forgetful, despondent, etc. Although you can’t guess every response you will receive, you can plot out the points you need for most expected responses. The more you practice with your collection call script and prepare, the better you’ll be when the moment comes.
3) Structure Your Collection Call with Specific Goals
There are many goals you should consider for yourself when making your collection call script:
Connecting with a relationship you value – Before anything, you need to acknowledge the person on the other end of the line. Show the customer you care by remembering something about them. It’s important to never forget the relationship.
- Acknowledge their business – Not only should you care about what’s going on in their personal life, but get an update on their business. Their business is a huge part of their life and it’s also beneficial for you to know what’s going on professionally for them.
- To establish the payment is late – You need to acknowledge the reason you are calling. Let them know their payment is past due.
- To discover why the payment is late – Instead of simply listing off the facts to your customer, ask them why the payment is late. There’s a chance you can help them solve this.
- To get a payment promise from the customer before you hang up – The most important thing you can get is a commitment to make the payment. Do everything in your power to make this happen.
Creating a collection call script is personal to your business and your customers. If you keep all of this in mind, your collections calls will produce more positive results without damaging customer relationships.