The New Face of Debt Collection – Empathy, Kindness and Compassion

Proud Businesswomen

The New Face of Debt Collection – Empathy, Kindness and Compassion

A couple of weeks ago I got a call from the collections division of a large financial company. The company wants to improve the quality of calls and improve the customer experience while still collecting debt.

That’s not an easy charge. Debt collectors are known to be threatening, aggressive, and intrusive, among other things.

So how will I help this company? I proposed we take a posture of empathy, kindness and compassion. Seriously, that is what I proposed for the company’s debt collectors.

I got the idea for a softer approach to debt collection from my husband. My husband used to work for a debt collector. In fact, he worked for one of the most successful debt collectors ever.

My husband’s former company, a consumer friendly company, bought delinquent debts from banks and then restructured them according to terms the customer could afford.

The strategy was successful. They were able to help 4.5 million consumers resolve $15 billion in debt, all of it without ever suing a consumer, producing net margins as high as 48%.

The company’s secret: Kindness, empathy and compassion.

I proposed to my prospect that I teach employees how to handle customers’ crisis with empathy. I told them that this empathy would bring in more money than any hard-hitting tactics ever could.

The company my husband worked for shut down. Long story.

But the owner, Bill Bartman, started another collections company, CFS II. (The original company was CFS). CFS II uses the same successful principles of kindness to collect. And it’s working big time.

Take a look at this video to get an inside view of how empathy, kindness and compassion work together to help consumers get back on track to pay their debts.

CFS II works off of the preface that people in debt don’t have money. What a novel idea!

They don’t hire debt collectors. They hire people with customer care experience.

Collectors aren’t rewarded based on how much money they collect. They are rewarded on the freebies they give away.

By freebies I mean help with consolidating debt. Resume writing. Pointing customers toward community resources. (This will make more sense when you watch the video.)


For help in how to talk to customers, especially when it comes to conveying empathy, check out:

5 Ideas to Improve the Way Your Employees Talk to Customers – Use these free 5 tips (plus videos) to hold a 5-minute training session to help your employees sound friendlier and “warmer”in face-to-face interactions and over the telephone

Customer Service eLearning– 10 courses to improve the way your employees convey empathy.

Learn more about this customer service eLearning, with a focus on empathy, by going here.

Telephone Call Flow Strategy – Free 9-point guide (also with videos) to improve your telephone customer experience


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