The 17 Musts for the Attitude and Abilities of a Collector
1. Must have the goal to collect any monies owed and have the patient handle their financial responsibilities.
2. Must care about the person to demand an honest ethical solution to their debt.
3. Must be able to communicate to the person on their level of understanding in order to collect.
4. Must be prepared enough to stay one, two or even three steps ahead of the debtor. Must be ahead in their thought process to be able to persuade the most stubborn debtor.
5. Must not make the debtors upset or hostile (as in a personal attack), but rather find the true source of the problem.
6. Must be able to listen to the debtor’s complaints or attacks, vent their frustrations and still ask for payment.
7. Must realize that people “fly off the handle” at times and say things they really do not mean. Do not take it personally. Be able to see through all this, maintain composure and know with confidence that you can bring about a resolution of their financial commitments.
8. Must not be afraid of any patient with a past due account. Instead, accept it as a challenge and with the confidence that you know how to handle any resistance, excuse or upset a patient may have.
9. Must be organized to promptly locate and identify delinquent accounts (so that collection efforts can begin promptly with no waiting).
10. Must be an effective telephone communicator and spend the majority of the productive day collecting on the phone.
11. Must be able to keep notes and records that are concise, to the point and easily understood.
12. Must be able to evaluate a patient and know when payment can be gotten from the patient, or when to stop wasting time and turn it over to a third party collector.
13. Must be versatile in using all forms of collection (such as the phone, nudging, notes on statements, billing charges, collection letters and third party collectors) to stimulate payments.
14. Must be relentless in pursuing the goal of collecting from dishonest patients and enjoying it.
15. Must be a good listener. This gives the debtor the opportunity to vent their frustrations and upsets. It also gives them the opportunity to offer their solution to the delinquent account. Most importantly, however, being a good listener gains the most cooperation from the patient, whereas interrupting the patient or “getting a word in edgeways” will only cause more problems than you started with.
16. Must be businesslike in your approach, language and mannerisms (regardless of any circumstances that might arise in the process of collecting).
17. Must be sensitive to the patient’s ability or inability to speak freely due to other’s presence and being overheard.