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home | Tip of the Week | Have you been trying to reach me?

"Have you been trying to reach me?"

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How's this for an opening line for a collection call?

"Have you been trying to reach me?"

Ummm, yeah, right, you might be thinking...

My past due customers sure aren't beating down the door trying to reach me. What a ridiculous question!

On a strictly literal level, that is probably true. Most delinquent debtors surely aren't trying to reach their creditors.

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But, on a number of levels, it is a great way to begin a collection call.

First, it's always good to assume the best of all customers, even the past due ones.

After all, perhaps they have tried to reach you and there's no better way to alienate a good customer than by an accusatory (and wrong) tone.

But that "positive attitude" aside, it is also a good, aggressive question, that, if they haven't actually been trying to reach you, puts them on the spot.

In other words: why haven't they tried to reach you? Why haven't they paid?

It's a strategy that really works for credit veteran William K. Blixt, head of credit at Western Products in Fargo, ND. He handles collections for a wide range of customers and says that "You have to treat each group of customers differently." And because of the diversity of his customers, he shifts gears many times a day depending on the type customer he's talking to.

But as many times as he shifts gears, he is careful to keep six principles in mind. For more on his six core collection principles, click on the following link in the members-only section of our site: Six Pointers to More Effective Collections.

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·  Collecting From Customers in Trouble
·  Collecting For Collections
·  Second Notice? Call Instead
·  Flimsy Excuses
·  Assuring Collector Accountability and Responsibility
·  Small Business Collection Manager is Thorough - And That Pays Off
·  Customer-Friendly Collections Work
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