Not meant as a flippant question, but I am feeling musically festive at the moment so must apologise for the over use of the word ‘Christmas’… but who knew SO many songs have it in the title?
So as the country begins to ‘deck the halls’ in preparation, how do we as collectors proceed to do our jobs, keep customer outcome at the forefront but still service our clients?
It’s an emotive and exciting time of year, and sure we all want to be ‘rocking around the christmas tree’ without a care in the world, but in reality, it can exacerbate an already fragile situation giving customers and creditors a ‘blue Christmas’ all round.
Experience tells us that when people ‘step into Christmas’ many do so with trepidation knowing that they are already overstretched and something will have to be sacrificed to provide a celebration worthy of ‘last Christmas’. So accepting ‘it’s clichéd to be cynical at Christmas’ how does a collector collect and not receive a reception worthy of ‘frosty the snowman’?
Well, a good collector will have developed an approach of listening and probing, they will have an understanding that some customers don’t fall into the category of ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’ as they can’t really afford the ‘first noel’ let alone a full ‘12 days of Christmas’.
A good collector will look to compromise, give some form of concession or suggestion that helps the customer navigate the ‘sleigh ride’ that is this season, to get though it unscathed and even maybe able to enjoy it whilst they are ‘driving home for Christmas’. A good collector will have some flexibility, is comfortable saying ‘Happy Christmas war is over’ let’s work this out.
Because a rigid or unyielding stance will alienate the customer and force them to make a choice which could leave us facing a ‘silent night’ and a once communicative and paying customer, left wondering ‘do they know it’s Christmas at all’? Once defaulted, it’s very hard to rehabilitate that customer and no amount of ‘mistletoe and wine’ will help, you’ve blown it as far as they are concerned and then, well ‘baby it’s cold outside’ trust me!
Just flex a bit, you could perhaps reduce the amount for one month, change the payment date, defer the due sum to the end of the plan or increase the next x number of payments to cover it, there are many ways to help but talking it through with kindness and empathy is the only way you keep your customer committed to paying what they owe, I’m not saying ‘I believe in father Christmas’ but in this day and age of austerity and struggle ‘all I want for Christmas’ is to know I didn’t cause anyone distress and maybe brought some ‘joy to the world’.
‘Do you hear what I hear’? No not ‘jingle bells’ sadly…but definitely groaning!
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