There’s no doubt that you’ll have to deal with some emotionally-charged calls as a debt collector. From the yellers to the criers, emotional clients have a way of taking a toll on your own emotional state. A few choice insults can leave you angry or crushed for the rest of the day, while a client with a truly sympathetic case may leave your feeling guilty for doing your job. For your mental health, it’s essential that you learn how to process and deal with your feelings after a tough call.
When You’re Mad or Hurt
No matter how long you’ve been a debt collector, sometimes a client knows exactly what to say to get your blood boiling. Maybe they attack your character or resort to slurs. In these cases, it’s best to give yourself a break after a phone call. If you’re worked up, you won’t truly be able to focus on your next call. Or worse, you could bring your own anger into the call and put yet another client on edge.
Remove yourself from your desk for a moment to take a short walk or get some water. Getting away and moving around will help you clear your head. When you’re feeling especially low, it doesn’t hurt to have a few meaningful affirmations to repeat to yourself. Take some deep breaths and remind yourself that this person isn’t actually angry with you— they’re angry with their situation, and you happen to be the easiest punching bag.
When You’re Annoyed
You may not encounter a call that makes you truly angry very often. But you probably encounter calls that leave you annoyed every day. Rude clients, clients who lie, clients who ramble to avoid talking about their debt. There’s plenty of calls that can make you frustrated and cranky, and that’s okay.
But if your notice that your frustration is spilling over into other situations, it’s time to take steps to deal with it. You may not even realize a call has bothered you until you recognize subtle changes in your mood or behavior. When you’re constantly annoyed, you’ll lose patience with other clients, coworkers, and friends and family.
When you’ve had a rough day, pay extra attention to how you react to those around you. Are you really mad at your partner for forgetting to unload the dishwasher or are you still miffed that a client hung up on you?
When You’re Sympathetic
Sometimes you encounter a client who has truly heartbreaking story. They’re kind and apologetic, and they’ve ended up in a tough financial situation through little fault of their own. Know that it’s okay to feel sympathy. You’re a human being, and the client is likely to be more cooperative if they know that you actually do empathize with them. However, don’t let those feeling turn into guilt or get in the way of doing your job.
Remember that this debt is hurting your client too; it’s ruining their credit, and the sooner they pay it off, the better. You didn’t cause that situation, and you have nothing to feel guilty about. With or without your calls, that debt is still there, wreaking havoc on their finances and credit. Think of yourself as someone who is trying to help them address that problem rather than someone who is out to get them.
When you’ve had a rough day, give yourself grace and remember that you’re entitled to emotions too. But to maintain your professionalism and mental health, it’s important to deal with those emotions as fully and as quickly as you can.