There’s a misconception about legal collections that court action is arbitrarily taken with no concern for the customer, or the customer’s circumstances, and will gleefully leave mothers and children sobbing in the gutter. Many people believe that all law firms are simply ‘smooth criminals’ whose mission statement is ‘Don’t stop till you get enough’. Collections is a service industry, and now we must service both the creditor and their customer and let’s be fair, that’s absolutely the way it should be.
Certainly programmes like ‘The Sheriff’s Office’ and ‘Can’t pay we’ll take it away’ could exacerbate that mind-set if the programme titles were taken at face value. However, once viewed, you see how well the High Court Enforcement Officers do actually deal with each case and in particular each individual. It is clear that the assumption of all creditors who seek repayment legally that ‘they don’t really care about us’ is very much false! Virtually all creditors do care, sure there will always be a tiny percentage who, whilst knowing the regulations try to ‘beat it’ … but they won’t stay around too long, someone will soon ‘scream’ and that’ll be the end of them!
Legal Collections are invariably a last stab at the end of a very long process of trying to recover sums due, when a customer or company has shown themselves to be in a won’t pay position rather than a can’t pay. Make no mistake, a law firm would not seek Judgment if there were any chance that it was unenforceable or that the customer was in any way vulnerable or in financial difficulties, what would be the point? That would be ‘bad’. But some of you may ‘remember the time’ when issuing a summons was as common as sending a demand letter. So maybe that’s why a lot of creditors don’t ’wanna be starting something’ when it comes to legal action. Historically we probably left a lot of ‘blood on the dance floor’ but times have changed, customer outcome does matter…’can you feel it?’
A customer who owes money will invariably have multiple creditors all vying for attention which will likely result in a ‘leave me alone’ attitude even though they genuinely want a solution. According to Stepchange, the numbers of people seeking debt counselling are increasing and they saw a 56% increase in demand between 2012 and 2014. The demographic of these people shows that single parents and under 25’s are increasingly over represented with 40% behind on essential bills. Add in the fact that there are as many fully employed people needing help as there are unemployed…well it reads like a ‘thriller’ doesn’t it?
This is why legal collections can never be black and white. Customer outcome strategies might not ‘heal the world’ but by ensuring that all avenues are explored, all communication channels provided lead to a bespoke and appropriate responder you’ll find a customer who’s happy to ‘rock with you’.
And you can’t say fairer than that!!!
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