One of the most exciting sports I enjoy watching is beach volleyball. It’s not just the extreme difficulty of running and moving around so quickly on the sand that boggles the mind, but it’s seeing how two players work together with such agility and accuracy that truly impresses me. They really have to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, especially when it comes to the final stroke. And like volleyball, collections can also include a tag team approach.
Every collector has the unique challenge of trying to understand the nature and psychology of the individual with whom they’re speaking during the first few seconds of a call. Within that very short time period, hearing the words and listening to the tone of the voice play into the collector’s ability to establish a rapport and clear the pathway for effective communication. At times however, some calls may get off to a rough start due to differences in communication styles or not being able to fully grasp the objections as to why a debtor cannot or will not acknowledge the obligation.
For example, the collector might be someone who has developed a fast paced communication style, which might not be the best fit for a debtor who needs to be spoken to fairly slowly. Or, a collector who is a little older and located in one part of the country might find the colloquialisms of speaking with a much younger individual in another part of the country difficult to understand.
This is why for some claims, it’s often a good idea to “pass the ball” to the collector on the team whose style of communication or experience is much more effective. There is certainly nothing wrong with acknowledging when it’s better to work together on a claim and in fact, it’s actually a key strategy in keeping a claim from falling to the ground.
Bearing in mind that although the right voice over the phone may establish the communicative pathway and rapport, it doesn’t mean that having that golden voice will be the one who can grapple with a complicated matter. Handing it to the right person at the right time to work through the objections, but then handing it back to the original collector to close the negotiation, can also be a part of the strategy. The key idea is to realize that flexibility in handling the same claim is what’s important for making it over the net.
And so with that, I hope I’ve been able to share a beach volleyball strategy with you the next time your claim might be quickly headed for the ground.
Hector the Collector is a credit and collection advice column by Nancy Seiverd, President, CMI Credit Mediators Inc. Your thoughts and comments (firstname.lastname@example.org) are most welcome!