Here at JSP Credit Management, we like to exhibit as wholly as possible the full spectrum of different elements we feel are pertinent to working in the credit management industry and therefore what we cover in one weekly blog may seem to be at odds with something we have spoken about previously. The reason for that is that we cannot capture over 15 years of experience of working in credit management in a 1000 word blog and keep it coherent.
Just to recap, last week we spoke about the Top 3 Tips For Transforming You Cash Collection Figures and in that blog, we mentioned 3 things in an almost transactional kind of way. In a way that was tangible and actionable. This week we are covering something which is less tangible but just as powerful when it comes to the impact that it can have on your cash-collection figures if taken seriously.
Have you ever heard of schemas before? If not google them. They’re a fascinating psychological concept. Fascinating because they operate below the level of consciousness – that is before we bring them to the surface of our consciousness – and no we are not going to start talking about stereotyping people at this point, but rather stereotyping a job role.
Something else we really love doing here at JSP Credit Management is challenging misconceptions. We caught sight of a newspaper article last week that clearly implied wrong-doing on the part of a debt collection agency for attempting to collect on a pair of unpaid parking tickets. We do not agree with any wrongdoing on the part of the debt collection agency having read the story but that is not the point.
The point is that the article conveys an image of the debt collection agency as being completely unreasonable, inhumane, bullish in their approach and generally unfair. Written by a national tabloid newspaper that gets over 30million hits per month, you can be sure that the message that they are conveying, as a matter of fact, is being consumed by at least a fair chunk of those people, and will become a part of public sentiment towards debt collection agencies.
Having done a bit of discourse analysis research ourselves in the past, we know that there is a reason for this. All versions of a story as portrayed through the media have a specific function to them and are told in that way with a specific goal in mind. But our experience of actually being in the middle of this industry for so long shows us that the reality is actually quite different, which is why we have decided to write this blog.
What we have found is that some of the biggest results we have had in our time as debt collectors have come about as a result of some serious investment in the relationship between us and the person that we are pursuing payment from. Although that sounds like hard work, it has not felt like that to us, because it is ingrained within us to respect the fact that we are dealing with human beings. This is especially important in transactions where we are acting as the third party.
Usually, when we’re approached by a company asking us to help them collect a debt which they have been owed by another company or person for some time, several things can be taken for granted. That is that the creditor has usually exhausted as much energy, time and resource into collecting it themselves that they are prepared to before being willing to surrender some of the debt to a commission to a third party debt collection agency.
The next thing is that the creditor will be emotionally invested in that debt, particularly if they are a smaller business or it is a debt that accounts for a larger proportion of their sales ledger. This means that there can often be some ill-feeling between the creditor and the debtor and this can distort some peoples decision-making process. That is not just an accusation (Szasz, P. L., Hofmann, S. G., Heilman, R. M., & Curtiss, J. , 2016).
Therefore, and often our role is to be impartial and objective and set about establishing the facts of the case in order to decide upon the best course of action. This means suspending our judgement and resist being swayed by any emotions which may have been caught up in the case so far. In doing so, we can appraise the facts of the case clearly and assess the best course of action to take to move the matter forward.
What we have also found is that this approach has frequently yielded a far more receptive debtor than we would have been faced with had we have gone into our discussion with them full of expectations and preconceived idea’s. This in turn has led to a level of cooperation between the parties involved and a newfound willingness previously nowhere to be seen to have the matter resolved as swiftly and as amicably as possible.
In a recent case, we sent a letter out to a debtor regarding an outstanding debt on behalf of our client and we did not receive a response. We cannot be surprised by that given the nature of work that we do so we sent another letter out which made the potential consequences of ignoring the debt more plainly to the person owing the money. It would have been enough to catch the attention of most people, and in this case, it worked. We got a callback!
It would have been easy to assume that given the direct language used in our second letter that the person calling us back would have been met with a non-negotiable, unreasonable and firm approach by ourselves when making the call, but actually what they received was a measured and compassionate response to their explanation for non-payment and some constructive suggestions for ways to move the matter forward.
What we’re proud of is that at the beginning of the call we sensed the worry in the voice of the person who had called us back to respond to our second letter and by the end of the call all we could hear was sincere gratitude for our understanding and professional handling of a situation which called for a bit of compassion and essentially a legitimate concern for the welfare of the owing party.
It is those moments which we like to reflect on as part of our evaluations of our professional development as a firm, especially in light of the some the press that gets put out about firms responsible for carrying out debt collection activities and we feel that it goes to show that the power of relationships is so strong that it can result in a win-win for everyone involved when valued highly enough.
We are here to do a bit to businesses safeguard their cash flow against late payers or debtors that are refusing to pay, so if you have been struggling to get an invoice paid and would appreciate the support of a team who pride themselves on operating in a way that is mindful of the above then visit our website at www.jspcreditmanagement.co.uk and contact us to discuss your needs. We operate on a no-win-no-fee basis for bad debt recovery and our credit control and credit risk services can be ordered via our website with the littlest of hassle.