Your practice or medical organization may be finding itself up against the wall in the face of operational expense increases, decreased reimbursement, and larger patient balances. Consumers can resist collections approaches and it might not be due to a simple unwillingness to pay. It may be tied to emotions and personality types. With this in mind, arm your collection team with emotional intelligence education to better align with common collection challenges.
The Influence of Personality Types
Personality types are a significant factor to consider when negotiating to collect. The personality types influence nonpayment excuses as well engender the emotions felt during a call. Training collectors on subtle nuances, better listening, key phrases can help them more effectively perform their job.
Find a common space with people pleasers who often apologize for what they owe. They also like to be helpful and will want to make things okay by paying the amount even using a payment plan.
Dreamers can lose focus about the money making it a good idea to keep steering them back to the topic. Engage in a professional manner with dreamers. Building rapport with these folks, who like to joke around, is an essential component of getting the account collected.
It’s best to acknowledge the feelings of a thinker and get them to agree they owe the money. This will move the conversation forward while maintaining the good relationship.
They think they know more about the account than the collectors! Speak with confidence about the account to gain their trust.
Emotions play a large part in the collection process. Make sure your collectors have the tools needed to deal with these three and other emotions.
Agreeability means the consumer understands they owe money and want to resolve their collection accounts. This is the best kind of emotion to encounter. Be cognizant of key phrases such as “I know I owe the balance but I can’t pay right now”. What does “right now” mean? The consumer is providing a lead in to collaborate with the collector to take care of the balance.
These are people that don’t want to pay and will not explain why. This defensive behavior is, unfortunately, a common one. The idea here is to try hit on some common ground, an agreement of anything. Small agreements can lead to discussions about collections plans that will result in a larger agreeement. The worst stance a collector can return in a situation like this is a defensiveness or aggressive tone. S/he may attempt to mirror the consumer’s responses. Sometimes this can result in an invitation to re-engage with positive dialogue.
Apathetic consumers could care less about what they owe. They may have bigger fish to fry but the bottom line is that they do not care too much about the money you’re trying to collect. Empathy is a good tool here, especially if the medical issue that caused the collection issue is weighing on the mind of the consumer. Using a response beginning with “It sounds like” or “It appears that” shows the consumer you are actively listening and want to get a resolution accomplished.
Try these three approaches no matter what emotion or personality type collectors encounter:
Make the consumer feel good. Validate feelings. Suggest ways you can help. Respond with respect, kindness and integrity.