I’m head of sales for the Teleperformance collections business and people outside the industry often ask me what ‘collections’ really means. I tell them that we collect debt on behalf of clients who are either struggling or just don’t have the resources to chase up companies or individuals who are paying late – quite literally we are collecting debt.
But debt collection has changed over the years. Nobody can deny there was a shady past where debts were passed to someone more likely to be able to recover it – for whatever reason – but now professionalism and communication are how we work. Our clients really value their reputation so we have to operate in a way that reflects their brand values and in any case, this is now a regulated part of the financial services industry.
In the current economic climate a lot of debt is really a case of ‘can’t pay’ rather than ‘won’t pay’ so communication and understanding is essential for achieving the optimum result – some payment recovered for the client.
We work hard to understand why someone is not paying a debt, and how best to encourage them. That might be through discounts, or favourable payment terms over time. It requires a hands-on approach to understand the right kind of levers to use to release payment – even if the full amount is not achieved.
One of the things we never want to do is put someone out of business – that’s counter-productive. Why bankrupt a company that might be able to pay if you give them more time or a discount on the debt?
I’m going to be exploring all these aspects of the collections business over time on this blog. I’d really appreciate your feedback and questions about the industry. You can leave a comment here or come and say hello on Twitter @firthindebt.