Collector - August 2020 - 14

COLLECTIONTIPS

A New Code for COVID-19
How to have better consumer conversations.
By Angela Czerlanis

T

hroughout the shift in doing
business during the COVID-19
pandemic this year, ACA
International has supported our members
with a variety of education resources.
Let's revisit a recent Hot Topic webinar,
COVID-19: How Has Your Talk Off
Changed? Originally presented by
Certified Instructors Irene Hoheusle, Greg
Ruffino and Beth Conklin, this webinar
reviews best practices to help you work
with consumers effectively and positively
going forward.

C IS FOR COMPASSION

Acknowledge the consumer's situation
with empathy and positive power words.
Try using words like "understand" and
"help." For example: "I understand that
you are stressed about your furlough. We
can work up a new or temporary payment
plan to help you through this."

O IS FOR OVERCOME OBSTACLES

Listen to the consumer's circumstances.
Maintain a friendly tone of voice to
diffuse strong emotions. This will show
an angry or emotional consumer that you
can see logical, workable solutions. If you
have experienced personal obstacles, keep
the lines of communication open with
your employer.

and maintain consistent standards and
performance goals.

I IS FOR INFORMATION

Information is power! Go back to the 'O' in
Obstacles: get current information about
the consumer's circumstances. Update the
consumer's employment, income and other
pertinent information and establish a date
for a future contact. For instance: "Let's talk
again in 30 days on Sept. 1 so I can see how
you're doing."

D IS FOR DIVERSITY

Find out if company or client policies
have changed temporarily that may allow
new or different solutions like tax refund
settlement packages, grace periods or
reduced payments. For example: "I'm happy
to temporarily decrease your monthly
payment to $50. We can reinstate your
regular payment of $100 in three months."
Take care of yourself, too. If you have
been personally impacted by a change in
employment or income, make sure you
consider new solutions for yourself!

1

IS FOR ONE CONSUMER
AT A TIME
Conversations may take longer. You may
notice a difference in your call numbers.
Consumers might just need to tell their
story. Listen, then ask questions. Try
saying: "Let me ask you some questions so
I can get a clear picture of your situation
and make some recommendations." Not
everyone has suffered an income loss.
Some consumers may have received
additional income via hazard pay or
another job. Take it one call at a time.

9 IS FOR NINE (MORE) WAYS
TO ADAPT

If you missed the live presentation of this
ACA Hot Topic or want to revisit nine more
script ideas and ways to adapt to COVID-19
conversations, visit www.acainternational.
org/education/hot-topics#pastrecordings.
Training Zone subscribers have free access
any time.
Angela Czerlanis is ACA International's
learning and development specialist.

V IS FOR VIRTUAL COLLECTIONS

If you switched to working from home,
how did it change your daily routine? As
states open, you may go back to the office
and your routine may change again. What
must stay constant is an excellent standard
of compliance, attention to security when
handling consumers' personal information
and accuracy in documentation. Stay in
touch with your supervisors and team
with huddles and chats to feel connected

14

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG


http://www.acainternational.org/education/hot-topics#pastrecordings http://www.acainternational.org/education/hot-topics#pastrecordings http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

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