Contact Us
Maggie Madden | 18 June, 2024

Tested techniques for engaging unresponsive customers in collections with Maggie Madden, Director of Collections for Trulite

Collecting Thoughts is C&R Software's podcast, presenting conversations with industry experts and insiders throughout the finance, software, and collections industries.

This week, Christina, chats with Maggie Madden, Director of Credit and Collections at Trulite Glass & Aluminum Solutions. With over 20 years of experience, Maggie shares how to humanize the collections process. She explains in detail how to build meaningful relationships with customers to reduce past-due balances more efficiently.

Christina and Maggie discuss concrete steps that collections teams can take to encourage customers to view the relationship as mutually beneficial rather than just a caller seeking to collect.

Read on to learn more from their discussion.

Listen on Spotify here.

Listen on Apple here.

Guest Profile

Name: Maggie Madden

Profession: Director of Credit and Collections at Trulite Glass & Aluminum Solutions

Find Maggie on LinkedIn.

Episode's Key Points

Building long-standing relationships 

To lay the groundwork, Christina discusses with Maggie how she started her career of more than 20 years in accounts receivable. Maggie explains how, in her early career, while working as a secretary, a CFO saw something in her that he thought was a good fit for accounts receivable. He started her out calling customers, and the rest is history.

The love of relationship building led her to over two decades in the industry. According to Maggie, relationship building, a crucial step in accounts receivable, is often missed throughout the process.

Many people feel like it's just my job to pick up the phone, call, and collect the money. That might work with a car payment when you don't have to have a relationship with the customer afterwards. But in the industries that I've been in, the relationship is long-standing, and you want to build a relationship where that person feels like they want to speak to you and they want to let you know things and vice versa.


Cracking the 'calling to collect' barrier 

Maggie advises that one of the best ways to build a long-standing relationship with a customer is to start a call with, "How are you?" The key, she added, is to really mean it. Wait for an answer and listen rather than tossing the phrase out as merely a casual greeting. 

If somebody says, 'Oh, I'm okay.' There is a nuance there. They are telling you something, and then you can follow up and say, 'Is everything okay? Is this a good time? Do you want me to call you back?' People remember things like that.

Maggie's team recently switched to different customers. She instructed her team members to call every customer to start with new branches—not to collect, just to introduce themselves.

I'm calling to introduce myself and find out a little bit about your business. What days do you like to be called? Is there a better day over another?' Get some information about their company and how they feel and start to build the relationship there. Ask them what they want and what they need, not just what you want.

Engaging unresponsive customers 

At Trulite, Maggie's team makes every effort to reach customers the way they prefer to be reached, whether by email, text, or phone. The company also has a portal where customers can pay their invoices independently. Her team sets up email notifications every week to remind customers of past-due invoices that automatically direct them to the portal.

She pointed out that some customers can't take a call in the middle of the day if they are out installing glass. Understanding what a customer's day looks like on the job can help accounts receivable better communicate with them.

We do try to make it easy for our customers to do business with us at every touchpoint.

Maggie also shared a secret strategy she says has served her well in the industry. She calls customers with past-due invoices from her cell phone. She said the approach helps because it "demystifies you." Plus, it stops customers from not picking up the phone because they recognize Trulite's business number on their caller ID.

She shared how a typical conversation would play out with an overdue customer:

It sounds like there's a problem here and maybe you're experiencing some difficulty. I'd like to help you with that, and I'm happy to do that. This is my personal cell phone number. You can call me back on it, but let's work through this process.

At the end of the day, it's about consistency. Maggie says that she is in touch with customers with past-due balances every week, calling not just to collect but also to communicate about problems they may be facing with their business, invoices, and more. 

Learn More

To learn more about finance, software, and the collections industry topics from insiders and experts like Maggie Madden, 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. 

Back to Resources
Share this article:

Let’s keep the conversation going

We’ll be adding thought-provoking content and insights on a regular basis. Let’s stay in touch!