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A Debt Collectors Psychology

Monday, July 27, 2015 - Posted by Michael McCulloch

Often we are asked how do you get results in debt collection.

The answer is a fairly easy one. Discover the problem and resolve the issue. This is where communication skills are the key to your success. Treat each debtor with a level of respect and dignity and find positive ways in which to obtain payment.

Think of the human brain as a tape recorder. While we as people may forget certain events the brain remembers and will still react to a situation, often attaching a feeling, to this event. This is the way their brain has been trained and unfortunately for us often the debt collection event is attached to an emotive feeling. Feelings of despair, anger or frustration, etc

Our role as debt collectors is often to re-train the debtor and attach a positive feeling to our communication. So how do we do this? We need to look at Transactional Analysis.

Everyone has 3 ego states:

Parent Ego State
This is a nurturing and judgemental state. The parent ego state corrects us and guides us. They tell us what to do, when to do it and how to do it. The parent ego state can be critical.

Adult Ego State
This is objective and logical thinking. This is where information is sorted, decisions made and problems solved.

Child Ego State
This is our emotional side. All of our emotional responses develop from this state including anger, revenge, happiness, love, hate, etc

So how do we re-train the debtor?

We communicate with words that come from the adult ego state. We are logical, ask questions that start with WHO, WHERE, WHAT, HOW and WHY. These information gathering questions solve problems. The more we stay in the adult ego state the better chance we have of getting the debtor into the same ego state and getting a positive result and payment.

If we communicate with the debtor where we take an parent ego state the debtor will immediately go into a child ego state. The result is one where the debtor will typically lose control and your account remains unpaid, complaints made and generally no progress is made.

How can we get the debtor back from the child ego state?

Place the Call on Hold: Re-evaluate the conversation. Return to an adult ego state and start asking the right type of questions.

Discontinue the Call: Re-evaluate where we went wrong and how we can improve the next time we speak to the debtor or on the next account.

Transfer the Call: The debtor will go immediately back into the adult ego state. You've allowed the debtor to calm down and they will look forward to speaking with another person.

By utilising these tools you will collect more debts, reduce complaints and make the debtors experience with you a positive one.

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