Accounts receivable collection phone calls take more than contact information, a phone, and your voice if you want them to work. Even the smallest factors can influence the outcome of your collection call such as your voice, emotion, tone, your ability to control the conversation, etc.
Try these 7 mantras during your accounts receivable collection calls to help improve your success rate.
1. Fake it until You Make It
A smile on your face is a smile in your voice. If you are in a bad mood, had a rough night, are irritated because of a previous customer conversation, or just have not yet had enough coffee, let all of that go when you pick up the phone. All you need to do is put a smile on your face, it doesn’t even need to be real, and it will translate into your voice. Your customers will respond to your tone, a negative tone will bring you negative results. Your day may just turn itself around when your customers start paying their bills and, if nothing else, science says a fake smile can make you happier.
2. Practice makes perfect.
This classic mantra works to help you develop an authoritative yet friendly voice. You want to be firm without being mean. Record yourself and listen to the playback to see how your tone, inflection, speed, and pitch work together to deliver a message to your customer- are you sending the right one? This exercise will help you make adjustments for more effective communication and build confidence in those who are just getting started.
3. Stay in the driver’s seat
By remaining in control of the conversation you can steer the conversation toward the goal you seek, payment. In order to do this you will want to make sure to do the following:
- Address the debting client by name throughout the conversation. This will keep their attention. Don’t do it too much though, that’s annoying…and creepy.
- Ask open-ended questions to get as much information as you can without being too demanding which can hinder your results.
- Take notes so you can make reference to them later. Write down any promises, excuses, or other pertinent information.
4. The debtor is always right…
at least let them think so…Even if they are wrong, you will be most effective with a response like, “I can understand why you feel that way but…” or “I can see how that would happen.” Rather than, “no you’re wrong and here’s why…” Be understanding and compassionate and you will be more successful as this will disarm any defensiveness that may arise from your debting customer.
5. Silence can be louder than words
Be sure to let a few seconds of silence be a part of your strategy. If your debtor says something, take a second before you start talking…if you ask a question, wait for them to answer it…silence does not have to be awkward. silence gives you time to think about your response and questions and sometimes, it will prompt a customer to keep talking just to fill the silence, hopefully providing you with more information about the payment you are looking for.
6. Stay Focused
Many customers will start blaming you for their late payments, or start complaining about the services of products they received from your company. That’s fine, don’t take the bait…just validate them (#5) and steer the conversation back to where you want it to be (#3).
7. You control your emotions
Some customers might start yelling at you or calling you names, don’t get upset, and don’t yell back. Just end the conversation nicely. If they are angry you won’t be getting anywhere with them anyways. Stay calm, remind them that you are just doing your job, and ask when you can call them back.