Telephone Skills – allowing debtors to “Save Face”

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Telephone Skills – allowing debtors to “Save Face”

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When chasing slow payers, treat them as you would like to be treated yourself – at all times. Because IF YOU DON’T allow people to “save face” (retain their pride) when dealing with them – they will do so themselves. The following true story has been included by way of example. (I was another Branch Manager at this company when this happened)

Many years ago, the Branch Manager of a large Finance Company in Mackay, Queensland, had to repossess a washing machine from an overweight, 50 year old mother of five who lived on the top floor of a three storey block of units. Now anyone that’s ever lived in a block of flats (I have) knows that everyone knows everyone else’s business – or would certainly like to.

Picture this.

Mackay, Queensland, Australia – sub-tropical climate – mid-January (middle of summer) – high humidity – extremely hot. Manager – wearing a white, short-sleeved shirt – sweating profusely – an unpleasant task to be done. Assistant Manager – same attire – equally hot. They arrive at the units, climb the six sets of steps to get to the top and knock on the door. (Neighbours peeking.)

“Come in. Come in”, she said. After the door was closed she burst into tears – couldn’t live without the machine – 5 children – dirty clothes, etc, etc. (Repossessions are NOT fun.)

The Manager had no choice, many repayment arrangements had been made but broken and his supervisor had instructed him to take the machine if she didn’t/couldn’t pay. So, lifting the heavy machine, getting grease on their hands and clean clothes, the Manager and his assistant carefully negotiated the machine down the six flights of steps. (Neighbours still peeking.)

With their now-wet shirts clinging to their bodies they eventually heaved the machine on to the company ute (a truck with a tray that carries heavy stuff!), shut the side-flap and started to get into the vehicle to drive away.

AT THAT PRECISE MOMENT … as the Manager’s left foot was in the vehicle, his right still on the concrete, he heard the woman’s voice from above. With a sidelong glance at her nosy neighbours she shouted,

“And next time, don’t bring the b—-y thing back
… until it’s fixed properly”.

(She had saved face.)

By | 2017-08-14T07:21:32+00:00 June 14th, 2010|case studies|0 Comments

About the Author:

Have you ever wondered why a client does business with you and then ignores your invoice like they had no intention of paying it in the first place or they treat you like their own personal line of credit, leaving YOU dangling, waiting months for their payment? Unfortunately this situation is all too common and can even be puzzling for the most experienced business owner. If you’ve ever had to handle outstanding accounts or you are just so over non-payers, then we can help. Real-world skills, solutions, tips & strategies to get more accounts paid on time, and, most importantly, how to maintain customer goodwill while keeping YOUR cash flow in the positive. You will find the blog posts helpful but to get real results, contact us by using any of the forms on this site, by email or by phone. I’ve been involved in the management of accounts for over 30 years, heard every excuse in the book, can spot a non-payer at 20 paces. Finance Companies in the 70s (systematic, tough), professional firms in the 80s (no systems, too gentle) and, since then, just about every other sort of business you can think of. I’ve written books on the topic, spoken all over the place about it and the blog in this website is my way of “giving back”. I hope you find it helpful.

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