Collector - March 2018 - 29
Understanding the unique
characteristics of each consumer
group can help you make stronger
and more productive connections.
By David R. Glezerman
oday's consumers possess many varied characteristics that will help
determine if they will be on-time payers or one of the numerous
people that creditors and clients will need to impose more stringent
collection activities upon. Many factors come into play when developing
strategies to recover outstanding debts, and the consumer's personality traits
have an impact on which collection techniques might be most successful.
One of the key characteristics in determining communication strategies is
the consumer's age-whether the individual was born and raised in the baby
boomer generation, as a GenXer or as a millennial. Each generation may have
a different outlook on debt, varied sets of values and a unique mindset on the
value of or need for credit.
In addition to these differing character traits, their levels of expertise using
new technology and understanding the basic elements of financial literacy or
wellness create the need for collectors to use various techniques and strategies
in their consumer conversations.
Understanding the characteristics of each generation will also provide some
insight into the hows and whys of consumer delinquency. For instance, younger
consumers may not have had good role models for handling credit or felt
pressured to borrow to pay for their education or obtain products and services.
Here's a look at the three biggest generations in the marketplace today, and
how debt collectors can be better prepared for the potential stalls and objections
that often arise when calling consumers from each demographic group.
Born between 1946-1964, baby boomers traditionally have good
communication skills and a strong work ethic to support their spending
habits. With a "buy now, pay later" attitude, many boomers are prone to
falling into delinquency when their job status changes or they encounter
unexpected expenses. They often view money as a status symbol.