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How Businesses Can Generate Fewer Complaints During the Payment Collection Process

Calling on those who owe your company money can sometimes feel like a thankless job full of complaints.

PRC’s Quality Control Manager Cheri Smith has been with PRC for almost 12 years and enjoys training new employees in addition to continuous process improvement among our collections staff. We recently sat down with her to talk about how to reduce complaints about collections.

Cheri said it is more important to listen to what the consumer isn’t saying rather than what they are saying.

“When a consumer says they ‘can’t pay you now,’ that doesn’t at all mean he or she won’t pay this bill,” she said. “It could mean a lot of things: he can’t pay this today, she needs to wait until payday, he is busy and needs a call back, or she wants more details before securing payment.”

She emphasized that to truly command control of a conversation, a collection agent has to listen effectively.

“Listening commands control of these conversations. Lots of people think collection agents are loud and rude — we are here to show them there is a better way to communicate,” Cheri said. “Our most successful and effective collection agents truly are the best listeners.”

Steven Covey said, “Listen to with the intent to understand, not the intent to reply.” At PRC, we use this quote often to remind our collectors they truly must be the best listeners they can.

Complaints are often generated due to a simple lack of understanding and to truly be an effective collection agent, just listen. Being an empathetic listener it will be much easier to work with the consumer and find a way to get that payment for your business.

Training employees on empathic listening and effective communication is key. PRC also relies on call auditing to ensure that our employees are using their training to the fullest extent possible. CallMiner is our auditing technology that can drill down on something as sophisticated as empathetic pauses. We want to ensure that your consumers are getting the best call and experience possible, every time, without fail. We audit 100 percent of our calls and issue scorecards and reports daily.

If your business is receiving a lot of complaints from your collection or payroll processing area, consider looking at the communication.