Don’t Tell Me That, by Michael C. Dennis

I recently overheard a collector say this: “I am under a lot of pressure to collect the past-due balance as soon as possible.”  Upon hearing this, the customer could be forgiven for assuming they’re in a strong bargaining position. When a debtor thinks they are in the “driver’s seat,” it is more difficult for the collector to negotiate a favorable outcome.  I think a much better statement would be: “Your account is seriously past due. We need to reach agreement today about when, meaning how quickly, this past due balance will be cleared.”

I believe the “I’m under a lot of pressure” approach may be an attempt to get the debtor to either feel a shared responsibility with the collector for the status of the account, or that this is an “easy” way for the collector to approach their debtor.   But it’s doubtful that a debtor will feel a personal obligation to help the collector.  The debtor probably realizes that it’s likely this is how the collector approaches every slow pay customer.  As a result, this ‘hoping for help’ approach to collections is likely largely ineffective.

How do you approach customers? As always, I welcome your feedback.

Michael is the author of the Encyclopedia of Credit (, a free, fast, internet resource for credit and collection professionals.  He is a consultant, and the author of “Credit and Collection Forms and Procedures Manual” as well as a frequent instructor at CMA-sponsored educational events.  He can be contacted at 949-584-9685.

One Reply to “Don’t Tell Me That, by Michael C. Dennis”

  1. I agree, no debtor is going to offer or feel they need to help the collector.
    Plus the fact if you did use this approach, your upper hand in the matter is gone out the window. The collector always needs to be the one in charge.

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