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Make Effective Collection Calls

April 3, 2007

When calling past-due customers or debtors, communicating confidence is key. You have to stay in control of the call, and the only way to do this is by being confident and prepared.

When making collection calls, you have to follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the law dictating when you can and can't call a debtor. For instance, you're allowed to call Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. and on Sundays if you've tried reaching the debtor during the weekday hours and haven't had a response. This is why it's important to document all collection efforts, including when you called, with whom you spoke and what was said. Also include anything else you think might be important to someone who may call or take a call from the debtor, so they know the status of the account and the payment.

If you're calling people who work all week, you'll have better results on a Saturday when they're more likely to be home. Otherwise, you may have to leave messages on their answering machine, which can also be effective.

Remember, everything you do represents your company--how you talk, collect money, send out invoices and handle tough situations. Whether you make your debt collection calls yourself or have hired a credit manager or accounts receivable clerk who'll be making the calls, it's important the person making the calls is familiar with FDCPA before picking up the phone.

Here are some tips on how to appear more confident--even if you're not--when making collection calls:

If you put these techniques to use, you'll collect more money and have better results from the collection calls you make. Make your calls in the most effective way the first time, so you don't have to continue making them--and risk letting the debtor take control of the call.