Crazy like a fox or just plain crazy?
An entire industry has been built around increasing business using google feedback, but what if you were in a business where almost all of the people you speak to never want to hear from you again, some of them hate you and not a few would like to punch you in the nose?
In other words, how about a collection agency?
Blair DeMarco-Wettlaufer is the Chief Operating Officer of Kingston Data & Credit, a collection agency with offices in Ontario and Quebec. Here is a shortened version of an email his firm sends once payment has been made:
Good afternoon Aaron,
On condition of your funds clearing, please accept this notice as a full letter of release in regards to XXX for the sum paid of $290.98. Please print a copy of this email and keep it in your financial records.
We believe that most people who end up in collections are good people, and while our file is closed, we would like to offer some support and provide the following resources for you: (He sends a number of links to articles on subjects such as financial literacy and your credit bureau file.)
We are glad we could work out arrangements on your claim voluntarily, and I hope your dealings with our Receivables Manager was not unpleasant. If you have any concerns, please feel to reach out to myself.
If you have any feedback for us on how you were treated by (Collector’s Name), feel free to email me or call me directly. If you are inclined to leave an anonymous review of how you were treated by our staff, I would invite you to do so at https://plus.google.com/106250241219393153034/about?hl=en.
By the way, if you are not familiar with Google comments, it is important to note that you cannot edit or delete the comments left by someone else. Risky? Asking ‘how did we do’ from a hotel, a restaurant, an airline, even perhaps watching the Toronto Maple Leafs play at the Air Canada Centre…o.k., maybe not the Leafs, but a collection agency? I asked Blair what prompted his asking debtors to tell them ‘how did we do’.
“Over the years I’ve been in collections” he said, “we often received positive feedback, maybe a Christmas card with a check, a call to tell us they appreciated ‘Bob’ who was patient with them, so I decided to be a bit more formal in the request.”
I suppose there are some collectors or agencies that might seek and even prefer a negative response. They might be thinking, “If the debtor likes me, then I’m not doing my job”. To them I would say it is an easier, softer way to collect with a nasty attitude but the true professional takes the road less travelled, collecting in full – and as best as possible – saving face for the debtor and potentially returning a customer to their client.
‘Truth be told,’ Blair says, ‘we receive less than a 1% response to the requests but so far, they have almost all been positive. If there is a negative comment, it would be a good learning opportunity, maybe to sit with the collector for basic or advanced accounts receivable training, review the calls and the process.’ On one or more occasions he has received specific feedback that might be valuable to his client and he passes it along.
It sure doesn’t hurt when Blair is talking to potential new clients. ‘We get positive feedback from debtors,’ he might say to them and in response to their raised eyebrows, he gives them the link.
Blair estimated that he has retained 80 to 100 clients over the past three years as a result of ‘I get positive feedback from the debtors and here is the proof.’
My vote? I say ‘crazy like a fox’.
“Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”