There is no denying that affordability is one of the well-known issues in the financial sector world of collections.
With conduct standards continuing to evolve under the Financial Conduct Authority, (FCA) regime and commercial pressures shifting at a similar pace it’s safe to say that affordability checking will remain a hot topic for the foreseeable future.
I think it is fair to say that, even in the non FCA regulated sectors, things are continually improving within the debt recovery arena.
Collectors are now having proper conversations, treating consumers with respect, as well as collecting the debt and, above all, listening to what the consumer has to say.
The importance of listening
Not everyone is a good listener, but it’s a skill which all professional collectors should have.
It is important to listen, and benefit from free information, listen to what is being said, listen to how it is being said, and above all perhaps what is not being said, which can provide key information to enable the collector to pursue the debt more effectively.
The Art of Conversation + Listening = Realistic Agreements = Best Outcome = Win-Win
At Spratt Endicott we have seen how this approach works with a high percentage of agreements being maintained and not falling into arrears. It is essential to gain the consumer’s trust and build a rapport with them. This enables us to get a better understanding of the consumer’s financial circumstances.
Some of the skills that contribute to what makes a good telephone collector stand out are:
- Basic Manners
- Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’
- Use the consumers name
- Ask is this a convenient time to talk
- Do not interrupt/speak over
- Be respectful
- Treat people how you would like to be treated
- Recognising when a consumer maybe vulnerable
- Ensure you have a correct view of affordability
This role has changed significantly over the last couple of years and continues to do so for the best, bringing with it more intelligent and thoughtful collectors. The job of a collector remains the same, but how they do it is making their work far more interesting and worthwhile, whilst achieving the best result for the consumer and the client.