How Collection Agencies Should Not Act Like a Credit Card Company

In collections, any payment can be considered to be a good payment, especially if it shows that an individual is interested and committed to paying off a debt. But as one agency learned that while any payment may be a good payment, collection agencies should not operate like credit card companies in one important way — asking for a minimum payment.

In this episode of “Training Bytes,” Mary Shores is joined by Hayley Sherman, the manager of the collections division at Datamax, who shared the changes that occurred on her collection floor when her agents stopped asking for a minimum payment and started asking for more money right off the bat. Sherman even went as far as to create a payment grid that her collectors use to determine how much can be accepted based on the amount that it owed. A debt of $100, for example is going to have fewer payment options than a debt of $3,000, she said.

The grid gives her collectors “something to work off of,” Sherman said during the episode. “So they’re not trying to just improv it in the moment, they can look at that and have something concrete to go off of. So they’re not just wanting to offer the minimum just to get something but they also know what to do, because they have something concrete and physical to look at.”

Collectors are people, too, Shores reminds viewers during the episode. And people are more comfortable asking for smaller favors — like paying a smaller amount — than they are with asking for the full amount or at least a higher one. “When you just take that authority out of their hands, and you give them a strategy or a guidelines to say, the first payment needs to be this amount within within this range, the second payment needs to be this amount, or the third needs to be this, then you’re taking that choice out of their hands, and you’re giving them a guideline to follow,” she said, which makes them more likely to ask for a larger payment.

Check out all the episodes of Training Byes here and be sure to use the links at the bottom of the page to access the audio versions of each episode on your favorite podcast provider.

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