Building Collection & Debt Settlement Call Scripts That Work: Have More Effective Calls & Increase Success Rates
February 11, 2024 | Convoso
Collecting and settling debts isn’t just about securing payments—it’s about cultivating positive communication and forging a path toward a solution. Without the right approach and tools in support, agents handling debt related calls will struggle to navigate these sensitive conversations and steer them down the path toward success.
In this context, the right scripts are perhaps the most important tool in an agent’s arsenal. A well-crafted debt settlement and collection call script can be the key to maintaining control of conversations with leads.
Want to learn how it’s done? Use this guide to building the best scripts debt collections and settlement calls to set yourself—and your team—up for smoother calls and higher success rates.
Why Use Collection & Settlement Scripts
Collection call scripts aren’t simply rigid instructions; they’re valuable resources that equip agents with the information and confidence needed to handle delicate situations efficiently and effectively. While scripts can’t capture every potential twist or turn a call may take, they provide agents with a clear framework for a conversation’s flow, ensuring key points are addressed while leaving room for individualization and empathy. Plus, the best collection scripts can offer:
- Personalized Information: Scripts—especially those that rely on scripting software— can equip agents with essential information about customer history and debt details along with settlement and collection plan options that ensure a more personalized (and effective) customer experience.
- Consistency and Compliance: Defined scripts help ensure consistent messaging across your team, helping to minimize legal risks and uphold compliance with regulations like the TCPA and FDCPA.
- Faster Onboarding and Training: Scripts provide an important resource for new agents, accelerating onboarding by offering a clear roadmap for successful calls. Meanwhile, this can reduce training time and costs to support stronger ROI.
How to Write Better Collection Call Scripts
The case for spending time developing well-considered collection scripts is clear. Actually doing so successfully demands a deliberate approach. Keep the following key principles in mind as you set to work writing your own collection and debt settlement scripts.
Understand Your Audience
Building effective scripts starts with understanding who you’re talking to. Consider the various reasons why debts go unpaid, ranging from financial hardship and simple forgetfulness to billing errors and even intentional avoidance on the part of the customer. Knowing these pain points allows you to craft scripts that incorporate effective responses and use language that resonates with customers on a deeper level, increasing the chances of a positive outcome.
Consider Compliance Matters Closely
Every script must be meticulously reviewed to ensure adherence to relevant regulations like the TCPA and FDCPA. This can feel overwhelming, but it’s crucial to avoid legal risks and protect your organization. Partner with external legal counsel to get expert guidance in navigating any gray areas, and utilize their input and audits to support compliance on your calls.
Establish a Clear Objective
Not every collections or debt settlement call is the same. Are you making an initial outreach, following up on a missed payment, or attempting to negotiate a new payment plan? Each scenario requires a distinct script tailored to its specific objective. By creating focused scripts, you equip agents with the right tools to achieve the desired outcome in each interaction.
Maintain a Positive Tone
Let’s face it, sensitive financial matters are personal, and discussing them is far from being everyone’s cup of tea. However, prioritizing a respectful and professional tone throughout the script is crucial. Avoid aggressive language or intimidation tactics, focusing instead on fostering cooperation and understanding. Remember, building trust is key to achieving successful resolutions.
Practice Active Listening and Empathy
Active listening isn’t just about hearing the words; it’s about understanding the emotions and concerns behind them. Script prompts should encourage agents to truly listen to customers, acknowledge their feelings, and demonstrate empathy for their situation. This human connection can go a long way in de-escalating tense situations and paving the way for productive communication.
Use Experience to Handle Objections and De-Escalate
Leverage the wealth of knowledge from your agents and past experiences to incorporate the most effective objection
Analyze common objections encountered during calls and equip agents with clear, concise responses that address concerns directly and maintain a positive tone. Remember, even challenging situations can be navigated effectively with the right approach.
For lessons on effective methods of de-escalation, turn to our guide to handling angry customers. And use these tips on handling common collection and settlement objections:
- “I never received that invoice”: This objection often stems from genuine forgetfulness or miscommunication. Even when it might not, your script should equip agents to respond empathetically, acknowledging the possibility of an error. Promptly email the invoice again, confirm receipt, and kindly attempt to settle the payment before ending the call.
- “I forgot to pay”: We’ve all been there. A well-crafted script should recognize this human tendency and avoid accusatory language. Instead, agents can acknowledge the oversight and gently nudge the customer towards action. Secure a payment, if possible, or explore options for settlement over time.
- “Cash is tight right now”: Financial hardship is a sensitive topic. Equip agents with scripts that avoid sounding dismissive or insensitive. Instead, offer flexible solutions like payment plans or explore the possibility of a smaller, immediate payment to demonstrate good faith and commitment. Remember, even partial payments keep the momentum going and show a willingness to resolve the debt.
- “The person responsible for payments isn’t here”: This can be frustrating for callers, but a well-trained agent can turn it into an opportunity. The script should guide them to obtain the responsible party’s name and direct contact information. Additionally, encourage the person you’re speaking with to convey a clear message, including your contact details and a request for a callback. This proactive approach increases the chances of connecting with the right person and moving forward with the resolution.
Test Scripts and Improve
Building better scripts is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Gather feedback from agents, analyze call recordings, and track key performance metrics to identify areas for improvement. Don’t hesitate to test different script variations and measure their impact to see what resonates best with customers and drives the most positive outcomes. This more scientific approach to improvement can pay huge dividends.
Use the Right Tools
Technology can be your greatest ally in ensuring that your best collection and settlement scripts are followed by your agents. Be sure that, beyond writing effective scripts, you have the right tools in place to truly increase your success rates, including:
- Dynamic scripting software that adapts to each call in real-time, providing personalized guidance to agents on the fly.
- Real-time monitoring and quality assurance tools. These can support agents during calls, flag potential issues, and provide valuable feedback afterward, driving continual improvement and ensuring your script remains a powerful tool for success.
- Answering machine detection that filters out voicemails to ensure agents are only talking to live customers and not machines. This solution can help keep agents in a groove and ready to deliver their best performance on each call.
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Example: Putting Our Collection Script Tips into Action
Now that we’ve explored the essential principles and tools for crafting effective collection call scripts, let’s see them in action. Remember, every situation is unique, and this is just a sample. Adapt it to your specific needs and industry regulations.
Scenario: Initial outreach for a past-due payment on credit card debt.
Agent: “Hello, this is [Agent Name] calling from [Company Name] regarding your credit card account ending in [last four digits]. I see there’s an outstanding balance of $[amount]. May I please speak with [Customer Name]?”
Agent: “Hi [Customer Name], thank you for taking my call. I’m reaching out today to discuss your account balance. We understand financial situations can change, and we’re here to help find a solution that works for you.”
Listen actively and acknowledge any concerns the customer raises. Use prompts like “Can you tell me more about that?” or “I understand that must be frustrating.”
Agent: “[Based on the customer’s response, offer appropriate solutions.] We have flexible payment plans available, or perhaps a smaller, immediate payment could get us started. We’re happy to work with you to find a solution that fits your budget.”
Address objections using the strategies discussed earlier. Remain empathetic and avoid accusatory language.
Agent: “Great! To confirm, you’ve agreed to [payment plan details]. We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly. In the meantime, feel free to reach out if you have any questions or need further assistance.”
End the call on a positive note, thanking the customer for their time and cooperation.
Remember, this is just a starting point. Nevertheless this script, along with the best practices that inform it, can serve as a starting point for your own team’s scripts.
Want to explore more collection and debt settlement script samples to help your team achieve higher success rates? Download our set of free example scripts by clicking the link below.
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