Credit Card Collection Calls – a customer service review

23 06 2009

Credit Card Collection Calls – a customer service review

or

A Business Analyst Turned Stay At Home Mom offers Free Consultation to Random Businesses

I seem to have these odd urges to give out business advice to businesses I don’t work for but have to interact with.  Today during nap time, I had some thoughts on a recent trend in this economic SNAFU: the credit card collection calls.  I love the alliteration, but that’s about the only thing they have going for them.

Here are some tips to you credit card companies on how to deal with your customers and end users.

1.  Have a real, live person make the call.

I picked up the phone last week and said “Hello?”  Nothing.  “HELLO?”

A mechanical female voice said “please hold for the next available customer service rep.”

Click.  I hung up.  I have to work myself up to deal with voice mail systems of companies I initiate the call to.  I don’t need the voice mail calling me and immediately putting me on hold.  I have not allotted a time frame to sit with the phone to my ear and I have no personal reward in waiting for the customer service rep.  The CSR can call me when she has the time to have my account up and ready on her computer.  I’ll talk to her – I won’t sit on hold because a computer told me to.

2.  Don’t insult your customer

This should just be common sense.  Really.  If you want customers, then you should – I don’t know – maybe value your customers?

“You just trying to buy stuff to show off to your friends when you have no intention of paying for it.”

“What kind of man goes and buys himself a big ass TV then can’t even work hard enough to pay for it.”

This astounds me because not only did the company agree to extend the non-collateral-based loan, they saw something in this person’s credit history that made them approve it.  If someone doesn’t pay their creditors, then why would you loan them money like you got a cousin named Bruno who has never failed at collecting the return.

3.  Don’t sell the customer something during the call

My goodness, people.  A collection call’s purpose is to get money.  It’s not to sell the customer a “Job Loss Protection Plan” for only $2.50 a month or “Life/Disability Insurance” that pays off the c-word if you should encounter something that would make you unable to pay.

Just get the payment and hang up.  Let the sales force or the CSRs who handle the non-delinquent account handle the extra products.

4.  Don’t insist on a payment over the phone but refuse to waive the fee to make the payment over the phone

This is a great way to get me to hang up on you.  If I can pay the balance over the phone, great.  I’m not going to pay you a fee for the “convenience.”  That’s not convenient – you can wait for the check I’ll mail out or for my online bank bill payer to transfer the money over.

5.  Don’t insist on knowing why the payment was late

Because I really don’t want to go into it so you can choose an option from a drop down menu on your account management software.  It’s also none of your business.  Your business is my payment history and whether or not you got your money.  You don’t need the sordid details of my life just to collect data for your analysts.

More than likely, in this economic climate, the customer had a choice.  Pay the electric bill or pay the credit card.  I’ll bet you they’ll pay the utility every time that choice comes up.

Moral of the story:  Your customers are everyday human beings.  Very few of them intentionally charged up the account with no intention of paying for it.  Deal with it and make sure your policies reflect it.  An amazing thing happens when you treat grown, civilized people like grown, civilized people:  they act like grown, civilized people.

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One response

23 07 2009
edebitpay

A live call will definitely have better edge over an automated voice. Secondly, as rightly mentioned, better to be away from sales mood during the call.
David

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