- DO recognize when you are making a collection call (you may be doing this by accident!)
- DON’T call at the wrong times or to protected locations, like at work unless you have specific permission.
- DO hire phone representatives who understand the rules and follow them, are respectful, and are good negotiators.
- DO consider a professional collection agency that focuses on community associations to avoid mistakes like these altogether!
In the effort to collect delinquent assessments in a condo or HOA, one of the tools used will be outbound calls. These calls to delinquent owners are very effective in that in some circumstances people are unaware that they are delinquent in their obligations to the association. Outbound calls to collect delinquent assessments in condos and HOAs are often the most effective way to recover unpaid assessments.
While it may seem simple enough, outbound calls are highly regulated and present a potential liability to the entity calling. That includes the management company as well as any third-party debt collectors.
What’s in an Outbound Call?
The features of an outbound collections call include the following:
- Calling the delinquent owner about late payments or accounts receivable.
- Negotiate for repayment deadlines and restructuring of assessment schedule.
- Track the payment and send reminder calls if necessary.
- Collection of delinquent assessments, special assessments, late fees, late interest, fines and violations, and administrative costs.
- Drafting of reports and files for accounting purposes.
As simple as this may sound telephone calls are highly regulated by the FDCPA and make no mistake these laws apply to the management company as well as third-party collection agencies.
Keeping Your Outbound Calls Compliant With the Law
The single most important regulation regarding outbound calls is the time frame by which a call may be made:
- Debt collectors can’t contact you at inconvenient times or places. They can’t contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you agree to it. They also can’t contact you at work if they’re told you’re not allowed to get calls there.
- Debt collectors or managers Can’t Call Repeatedly
- The FDCPA doesn’t specify how often a debt collector can call, e.g., weekly, daily, or multiple times a day. However, it does prohibit collectors from “causing the phone to ring repeatedly or continuously to annoy” a delinquent owner in a condo or HOA.
- The FDCPA prohibits debt collection companies from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect debts from you. This holds true for a management company and only makes good sense. No owner should ever be abused.
Competencies and Skills of a Good Outbound Collection Caller
An effective outbound call center professional should be able to communicate clearly and effectively. Callers need to be firm and persuasive while negotiating. In the collections role, the candidate needs to be reasonably good at numbers. Not only should the candidate be able to reason out with the delinquent property owner what amount is due from him/her, but also be able to understand quantitatively the margin of negotiation he/she has and on-the-fly do a deal with the customer.
Respectful & Polite
In cases of potentially conflicting situations, the customer service representative needs to remain calm and respectful. Our research with multiple companies shows that being polite, respectful, and warm helps a Collection agent. Whereas this seems counter-intuitive, it has been quantitatively verified across multiple companies for the collection’s agent profile.
This can be explained theoretically as follows. For a collection agent to be able to successfully recover payment, he/she should develop a relationship with the individual who owes the money. What seems to work better is persuasiveness than assertiveness to make an effective recovery. Taking a hostile standpoint with the customer does not help, rather a collaborative behavior is better with the modern-day defaulter.
Stickler for the Rules
Given the high level of pressure at work, both with regard to the work tasks and to the interactions with customers, the candidate needs to have the ability to deal with stress, varied wok timings and work demands. He/she must strictly adhere to rules and regulation and is thorough in everything he/s he does.
Hire a Professional Collection Agency to Make Your Outbound Calls
Making outbound calls to delinquent unit owners in a condominium or HOA should be handled by highly trained professionals who have specific insurance coverage. That would usually be either a licensed collection agency or an attorney (who rarely make outbound calls).
If your community association has delinquencies that require professional help Axela Technologies has the trained and certified collection agents and technology to make these calls. All calls are recorded and can be accessed by the board or management 24/7.
Make no mistake, professional calls made to delinquent owners are very effective and resolve issues. Contact Axela Technologies for a free collection analysis.