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Here’s Why Debt Collectors Struggle

Have you noticed your team of debt collectors are afraid or anxious when asking for money?

Have you noticed your team members are unhappy to the point that it surfaces in their tone when they’re talking with consumers?

If this is the case, you’ve probably noticed your payments are down and you are concerned about your bottom line.

Imagine a day, a week, a month, when your team comes in excited to be on the phone and where payments are overflowing your P.O. box.

Well, I have good news for you.

Today I’m sharing tools from my signature series, The Collection Advantage. This comprehensive training solution is a compassionate approach to collections that puts people (and their complexities) front and center. If you are noticing that employee morale is down, consumer and legal complaints are up, and revenue is a whole lot lower than it should be, then you’ll want to check out this program. In short, it’s an evidence-based communications strategy for debt collection agencies that want to do better and earn more.

For the past 15 years, I have studied neuroscience and have used that knowledge, along with my professional debt collecting experience, to develop The Collection Advantage training program. The truth is and what I have discovered is research shows we’re all born wired for empathy, and empathy works in collections.

What’s troublesome is as we’re going to school and growing up, we sometimes tend to grow away from being empathetic for whatever reason. The good news is our collection teams can gain a better understanding of the powerful effects of being empathetic through The Collection Advantage available at In the program, I teach collection teams how empathy can lead to successful calls and positive outcomes.

One of my students Ashley Sweitzer, a collector at DataMax, said, “The Collection Advantage makes you feel better as a collector. It makes you want to ask for that payment and makes it more comfortable. It's probably one of the best training programs I've ever been in. And I think that's because she's there on the calls and you actually see her. You actually talk to Mary and it's a phenomenal experience.”

I wholeheartedly believe the collector is under an insurmountable amount of stress in today’s collections environment and often in their personal lives. My friend and colleague Leslie Bender, of Clark Hill PLC, recently shared the same sentiments when we were featured along with Ashley Campanella, of Arbeit, on Mike Gibb’s Talk Off Episode 32.

Leslie shared an interesting viewpoint on today’s collection teams. She said when people come to work they bring their worries, fears, and angst with them. She added it’s important to not sweep these feelings under the rug because they will come out in their interpersonal relations eventually. In essence, what she was saying is we need to be in tune with our employees and what they are dealing with personally.

Ashley weighed in on the subject and said she had a recent AHA! moment when she was on a call and realized how important it is to keep her team engaged. Whether it’s through games, prizes or other activities, she said, “I really do think stuff like that boosts morale, and makes employees happy, and it’s going to reflect in their tone and how they interact with consumers on the phone.”

I wholeheartedly agree with Ashley in thinking about the mood of the collectors and their account managers as well, and I'll tell you why. Humans, in this realm, are like sponges. And if you think about a sponge, and you're pouring water into the sponge, it’s going to overflow. Let's just say in this circumstance, water is a metaphor

Being awake and aware to the stressors affecting our collectors is critical to successful outcomes in the office.

Here’s the Perfect Solution if you Want Empathetic Collectors

The concepts covered in The Collection Advantage are backed by peer-reviewed neuroscience studies and empathy-based communication experiments in my own debt collection agency.

​Many of our collectors may think ‘Oh I’m not an empathetic person,’ but the truth is with practice they can learn how to be empathetic. Studies have shown that in as little as two weeks of training, people can learn to be empathetic.

The language the collector chooses and how he/she approaches the consumer determines whether there is a connection or a disconnection. I have a term I’ve coined Connection is Currency, and I wholeheartedly believe in this concept.

Imagine if a team member has a consumer who is perhaps behaving in such a way that isn't going with the flow of what the collector needs or desires, then both parties end up getting triggered and that's when you get into the arena of two people on a call that feels like they're in a boxing ring.

In my training programs, I call this the conflict zone. The goal is always to get to the connection zone because the connection zone is where we empower the consumer and build confidence and trust with them.

Four Key Ingredients for Better Connections

Listed are four ways your collection team can move forward with better connections:

1. Emotional Intelligence

2. Communication

3. Critical Thinking

4. Fair Negotiation

With The Collection Advantage program, your team will learn how to weave empathy into their conversations . The truth is that people have a need to feel heard and understood before they’re willing to listen to solutions. The Collection Advantage provides the tools your team needs to help them be empathetic to the needs and fears of the consumer.

Stick with me, and I’ll get your team moving forward with better connections which will ultimately lead to happier collectors and increased revenue.

Book a Call with me today.


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