It wasn’t until March 16th that we started feeling the difficult nose-dive effects that COVID-19 would eventually have on the economy. Until then, we had been enjoying a robust, rapid growth trend.
Suddenly, a tsunami wave of calls, emails, and texts from borrowers flooded our team. One after another, borrowers contacting our team, unable to make payments.
One after another, our payer rates taking a nosedive. The tension of each ping of a text, ring of a phone, or ding of an email. Incoming cash evaporating.
What do you do when you’re blasted sideways by the perfect storm?
We dug deep into our strengths. Relationships. Flexibility. Empathy. To our team, we stressed rapport with the borrower. To the borrower, we listened. We listened to their challenges and their fears. Then, we created possibilities.
We worked with borrowers. We helped them to find flexible ways to make some kind of payment based on their individual situations. We stretched to create possibilities. We attempted to turn a global pandemic into a non-zero-sum-game.
We flexed. We modified the majority of our existing payment arrangements. Now, instead of smooth cashflows, every interaction required careful monitoring and coaching. All hands on deck. Our team constantly in the ready position.
We stayed vigilant, hustling just to maintain our course and speed. And then, about the third week in April, something changed. Slowly, our collections started trending upward. Was this a fluke? A false positive?
By the first week of May, we were experiencing a healthy trajectory. And during this recovery, we saw something incredible. Our payer rate was starting to skyrocket.
How do you explain a decrease in incoming accounts but an increase in payer rates?
We were getting fewer accounts as clients trained their internal teams to work their accounts in-house, and yet our payer rate was still shooting up. How could this be? The answer was simple: Our soaring payer rate wasn’t from new accounts. Rather, it was from the borrowers we had spent so many hours and days building relationships with. Listening. Finding solutions.
Between April 1st and May 31st, we doubled our payer rate. As the economy reopens, small business owners gain hope. With hope comes even higher payer rates and paid-off accounts.
Work with people.
Work with people. Shouting at borrowers during a crisis is no way to make progress.
If you’re using a third-party agency, make sure they’re acknowledging the humanity of the folks on the other end of the line. This isn’t just about “warm and fuzzies.” This is better business, and it results in more people upholding their borrowing agreements.
Yelling at people through a megaphone makes people want to back away. So drop the megaphone and make them want to come closer so that you can find solutions. You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
You don’t need to be struggling right now.
If you’re overwhelmed with how to make progress on defaulted accounts, we have the answers. You don’t need to be struggling right now.
Whether you’re panicking and need help right away, or you’re calm and merely curious about how well our approach works, give us a call or send accounts our way. Our effective collections team is backed up by a brilliant legal team, and we’re on call to help you get your money.