How to Be a Good Collection Agent

Collection agents should be pleasant to customers.
Collection agents should be pleasant to customers. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

One of the most despised occupations is the role collection agents play. Collection agents are people who call customers who owe money. A collection agent tries to persuade the person to pay a past due debt by using several different types of techniques. Good collection agents are able to collect money owed from customers.

Place a phone call. Collection agents send letters to customers, as well as make phone calls. Sending a letter to a customer is generally the first step in collecting a debt, but it does not always work. After several attempts of trying to communicate by mail, a collection agent begins placing phone calls to the customer.

Do not threaten. If you are a collection agent, make the phone call and try to offer an impression that is nonthreatening. Be kind, show emotion and sensitivity and never offer threats to the person. Collection agents must be manipulative, in a sense, by making the customers feel like they are cared about and that they are your friend.

Discuss the debt. Collection agents are typically hired by companies to collect debts. In return, the collection agent is paid a fee or receives a portion of the collected debt. Discuss with the customer that you are calling about a particular debt. Explain which company incurred the debt and the amount that is due.

Find an explanation. If the customer says he will pay the debt, require him to give you a date. If you do not receive the debt by the stated date, call him again.

Try to work out an arrangement. Most people fail to pay debts because they cannot afford to pay the entire debt at once. Work out a payment plan with the customer over one or two installments. If the customer then fails to make scheduled payments, call him again. Ask the customer how much he can afford monthly and try working out a payment plan. Remember to show empathy and consideration to the person and try to develop a relationship with him that causes him to not avoid your phone calls.

Keep in touch. Do not call him again unless a payment is not received, but do call as soon as one payment is missed. Let the customer know that you are not going away until the bill is paid but show sympathy to his needs as well.

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