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Joe Witkowski | 05 September, 2023

[Podcast] The Disposition of Collections with Joe Witkowski

Collecting Thoughts is C&R Software’s new podcast, presenting conversations with subject matter experts and insiders throughout the finance, software, and collections industries. 

In this episode, Christina talks with Joe Witkowski, team lead at debt collection agency American Profit Recovery. We discuss his career, the pandemic’s effect on the collections industry, and the human side of debt recovery. 

Listen on Spotify here.

Listen on Apple here.

Guest Profile

Name: Joe Witkowski

Profession: Team Lead, American Profit Recovery

With a background in Psychology, Joe has been with American Profit Recovery for the past 14 years. He focuses on identifying compliance issues, mitigating them, and enhancing company processes and consumer scripting. 

Find Joe on LinkedIn.

Episode’s Key Points

Ethics in Debt Recovery

The debt collection industry certainly isn’t stereotyped as a consumer-friendly business. However, American Profit Recovery seems to be attempting to change that. From an initial glance at their website, ethics appears to be a primary focus. 

Speaking with Joe, he affirmed that hypothesis. For them, their work centers around the values of the Collector’s Pledge—a commitment they undertake to ensure all customers are treated with dignity and respect. 

“It’s in the ethos of how we collect. When you’re talking to a consumer, remember first that they’re a person, and you have to believe that everyone who has a debt wants to pay their debt. So the question you have to ask yourself is, why haven’t they paid it?”

Not only is it the right way to treat people, Joe says, it’s also more effective. When reviewing a call from his collections team, the first thing he does is ensure the caller is friendly. Treat someone respectfully, and they’re more likely to treat you the same. Not to mention, they’re more likely to pay their debt!

The Connection Between Collections and Sales

As we mentioned, Joe has a background in psychology—and that’s apparent in how he describes his approach to working with the collections team. To Joe, being a collector is akin to being a salesperson, and he’s worked to implement techniques from the sales industry in their call scripts. 

At American Profit Recovery, people with outstanding balances are warm leads, and having them repay their debt is the sale. To achieve a successful outcome, they need to understand why they haven’t paid their balance and overcome the objection—similar to the sales process. 

“We started to really focus on our scripts being more sales. One of the examples is the questions we ask to pay is, ‘Did you want to pay this account today with a check by phone, or did you want to do an ACH payment?’ Either way, we don’t care because we’re having a conversation about paying instead of other aspects of the matter.”

Avoiding Shutdown During the Pandemic

During the coronavirus pandemic, many collections agencies were forced to suspend operations until they could reopen offices again. American Profit Recovery avoided doing so by being adaptive and accommodating remote work. 

While not an ideal circumstance, their ability to adapt to adversity and continue functioning indicates that a nimble company and more likely to succeed.

“The company invested in technology. We were able to tell everyone to grab their computer, go home, and log on--and then we implemented things. We had to stress to collectors that if you can talk to the person—just call ’em on Teams, call ’em on Zoom—just talk to them, make sure you communicate.”

Staying Positive: A Win-Win for Employees and Clients

Joe spoke about the positive, fun work atmosphere at American Profit Recovery—again, not something one would immediately expect from a debt collections agency! Not only is it great for morale, he says, but it affects client interactions as well. 

“When you’re happy, people know it. So, for instance, I know sales have to be super positive on every phone call, and when I sat next to sales, I was happier, and people could hear it. I always believe that if you’re smiling, even if they can’t see your face, they know you’re smiling.”

Learn more about Joe

To discover more topics on finance, software, and the collections industry topics from insiders and experts like Joe, visit the C&R Software blog. 

Stay tuned for future episodes of Collecting Thoughts, where host Christina dives deep into more interviews with leaders from across the debt recovery and software world.

 Joe Witkowski
About the author

Joe Witkowski

With a background in Psychology, Joe has been with American Profit Recovery for the past 14 years. He focuses on identifying compliance issues, mitigating them, and enhancing company processes and consumer scripting.

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