Why Collectors Want to Avoid The “Friend” Zone

There are likely only two outcomes for every collection call. Either a collector creates a connection with a consumer or creates conflict. The goal, obviously, is to create a connection, because that is far more likely to result in a payment than creating conflict ever will. In this episode of “Training Bytes,” Mary Shores from Mary Shores Communications shares the five different zones that a collection call can progress through, and shares her tips for helping collectors keep their calls in the “connection” zone while avoiding the “conflict” zone, the “deception” zone, and the dreaded “friend” zone.

Understanding the different zones of a collection call can help collectors “turn negative calls into positive ones,” Shores says during the episode. Negative calls, like ones in the “conflict” or “deception” zone can occur when collectors stop listening to consumers, interrupt them, or bully them into agreeing with you. Taking the time to listen to consumers, hear them out, and working to create win-win scenarios will keep calls in the right zones, Shores says.

Ideally, calls will start in the “connection” zone and then head into the “goldilocks” zone where a positive outcome is created. Calls that often start in the “conflict” zone end up in the “deception” zone and you can guess the outcome of those kinds of calls. And, much as in real life, the “friend” zone is to be avoided at all costs.

How collectors can keep calls in the right zones are by using active language instead of passive language, avoiding aggressiveness, and ensuring the consumers are allowed to feel like they were heard and understood, Shores said.

“Once those positive feelings are created and the call moves into this connection zone, it creates an environment where the relationship between the collector and the consumer is one where the consumer sees the collector as an ally,” Shores said during the episode. “And once they see them as an ally, a level of trust begins to form. And once that trust is in place, now we can feel comfortable talking about payment, because oftentimes, you know, having a conversation about debt can feel uncomfortable.”

Check out all of the videos in the Training Bytes series, and get links to access the podcast version of each episode by clicking here.

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