Last week we talked about how important it is to keep a calm, kind approach when collecting debt. That's not always easy to do.

Hostile debtors can often tempt a debt collector to respond in kind. At no time should you reciprocate. Always maintain a calm demeanor. Ask specific questions regarding the dispute and assure the customer you will follow up. Be sure to seek a commitment for paying before concluding the call. Unjustified, angry and hostile complaining may be a ruse to lure you into a negative response, which would provide the debtor with a rationale to further delay payment. Defuse this defense. Maintain a courteous, friendly tone and continue to show concern and empathy.  

You will, many times, receive rude treatment by the debtor due to pressures and circumstances that certainly are beyond your control. Among them may be marital problems, death in the  family, and most obviously, money problems. While an expression of sympathy may be in order, do not be distracted from your purpose. Maintain a serious demeanor and seek recovery. You  may have to work out an agreed payment arrangement; however, by maintaining a serious tone,  you will deflate any notion that you can be easily manipulated.  

Most people do intend to pay their bills, and if the customer is struggling to pay you, you certainly can and will be a convenient target. Again, you are not a whipping boy for any debtor, but a little empathy can sometimes go a long, long way.

And always remember this: “Angry people don’t write checks.”