There are several options for debt collection. However, most businesses start the process of debt collection with phone calls. Yet, making those phone calls can be difficult if you don’t know what to say. Here’s how you can create your very own basic debt collection script.
Before You Get Started
Before you write your debt collection script or start making phone calls, it’s important that you review each file that is past due. Why? Because you need to know how much is owed, when the last payment was made, and what the last payment amount was. Refreshing yourself with the information in the file will also help you answer any questions that you could be asked. You should also make sure that you have the right documentation to send to the client if they request verification of the debt. If you are unable to send that information, you cannot continue to collect on it.
Also, if you plan to eventually partner with a collections agency to help with your debt collection, you still need to have the verification to hand over to the debt collection agency. You should also do your research to make sure that the agency has a good track record and follows federal and local collection laws.
Identity the Client at the Beginning of the Script
Because of federal and state collections laws, it is very important that you know that you’re talking to the debtor or their spouse. So, the very beginning of your script should be written in a way that helps you verify that you’re talking with the person who is responsible for the debt. If you’re calling a business that owes you money, remember that the receptionist or administrative assistant likely isn’t the one responsible and probably doesn’t have the authority to pay you. So, it’s important that you get the right person on the phone.
Hello, may I please speak with John Smith?
Hello, may I please speak with (name of business representative listed on the account)?
Identity Yourself and the Purpose of Your Call
There are two parts to this part of your script. It could be that the person on the other end ask who is calling. So, you should be able to identify yourself, but don’t say anything about the fact that it is a call for collections at this time. There are laws in place that have to do with protecting the privacy of the debtor. You do not want to violate the law.
You’ll also want to identify yourself and the purpose of your call once the debtor is on the phone with you. The key here is to be professional and friendly. Debt collection is generally viewed as an adversarial process by debtors and many businesses, but being nice can help you get paid.
My name is (your name) and I’m calling from (business). Note that there is no mention here of it being a collections call. It is only to identify yourself. For businesses, you could also let the person who answers the phone know that it isn’t a sales call. This can help you make your way past the gate keeper.
My name is (your name) and I’m call from (business). The reason I’m calling is to talk to you about your account. It appears that your account is past due.
Be Prepared to Offer Solutions and Payment Options
When you’re making debt collection phone calls, you must be prepared to offer solutions to any problems that the debtor may have. You should also be prepared to offer payment options if they want to pay, but can’t afford to pay the full balance when you call. Remember, debt collection isn’t about becoming a bully. It’s about helping people who have encountered a difficult time. Most people don’t like being in debt. So, take some time to build rapport and find out what happened. Answer any questions they may have. Give them time to talk. Be empathetic.
Possible solutions include coming up with a more affordable payment plan, taking a partial payment, calling back on their payday for a payment, or even helping them get into contact with Clients ARM. We offer a free tool known as Hello Finance Manager. It can help them get matched with a lender so that you can get paid in full.
You should also be ready to negotiate or remove late fees or penalties if they can pay. Keep in mind that if the debtor files bankruptcy, there’s a chance you won’t get paid at all or that you’ll get a very small portion compared to what you’re owed.
I show that you owe (amount) and that it was due on (date). Do you have any questions or concerns about what you owe?
If they say they want to pay, but don’t get paid until a certain date, you can create a reminder to call back to take the payment. Okay, well, I understand that you can’t pay now. You said you get paid on (date). I can call you back that day to take a payment over the phone. Would you prefer morning or evening?
Would it be helpful to you if I remove (late fee / penalty) to make your payment more affordable this time?
Remember to Document Everything
When you make your debt collection calls, remember to document everything: who you called, when you called, and notes related to the conversation. Set a follow-up date and make your next call at that time.
If you need help with your collections, Clients ARM can help. We offer both first and third-party collections at an affordable rate. Schedule your free consultation now.