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Avoid Stoplights: How to Reduce Payment Barriers

Stoplights slow us down. If it weren’t for those red lights (always red when you’re running late!), we’d all get to work much faster in the morning.

Calling on those who owe your company money sometimes feels like a series of stoplights. You make the call, that’s a green light. But no sooner do you get going then you get a yellow light: the person you need to speak with isn’t around, so you leave a message. Maybe it’s a red light: you reach the person, but he/she can’t pay right now.

Michael Morillo, PRC’s Training Manager, has been with PRC for almost 15 years and enjoys training new employees in addition to continuous process improvement among our collections staff. We recently sat down with Michael to talk about these payment barriers and how to work around them.

Morillo 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,” he 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.”

Morillo 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 combat that. Our most successful and effective collection agents truly are the best listeners.”

So even though the stoplights are frustrating, simply by 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.

What barriers to payment are you finding as you call on consumers who are late with their bills? We’d love to hear your questions and input. Share with us on Facebook or Twitter.