Credit management and commercial debt recovery are very much people first activities.
While some debt recovery especially can attract bad press, with stories about harassment, the reality is that at its best, it is focused on listening more than acting.
Protocol and Procedure
“A professional, proactive approach to credit management and debt recovery means acting in a way that is both proportionate and reasonable. It means harnessing an ability to connect with others, while remaining assertive and resilient.”
There is a strong element of negotiation involved, because working with someone owing money is usually more effective than attempting to coerce them.
“People may not automatically associate sensitivity with this commercial debt recovery, but it’s very much about taking in information from the start”
This listening element is crucial. A solid understanding of a debtor’s situation will provide greater insight into why it has occurred, and can point the way forward for a debt recovery strategy.
“Empathy goes a long way in this business, and is a very effective tool at helping to engage with debtors and engineer a solution, and the right result for clients.”
The pressures involved in credit management and debt recovery are far from one-way. Agents involved can face frustration and hostility in the line of work.
“Maintaining your composure is demanding, but essential. It’s about being calm and methodical. Don’t rush in. Be clear in your conversation. At the same time, be aware when a chosen approach isn’t going to yield results. Don’t waste time, but take a breather and rethink your strategy.”
This is where the balance lies, and where honed, professional people skills are at the heart of this work.
“Credit management must combine an intuitive feeling for people and how they act and respond, but also attention to detail. There must be both diligence and compliance in this area of work.”
“Agents must amass the right amount of knowledge and data to accurately read a situation, and the people in it, thinking on their feet, and be prepared to deal with a broad range of businesses and people”
“There is a myth surrounding commercial debt recovery, that it involves hard, unyielding people who can bulldoze their way to a result. Nothing could be further from the truth,” concludes Paul. “It’s a skill, and it involves a diverse range of people, fully committed to the process and to getting the right result.”