The "Road House Theory" to BHPH/LHPH Collections
In 1989, one of the top movies a lot of us hate to admit that we loved to watch was released. Road House with Patrick Swayze set the gold standard for corny and cliche', "Bouncer as a hired gun, saves the bar, consequently the entire town AND gets the girl!" Then add in Sam Elliot, are you kidding?! When channel surfing, I can never just pass by without a quick look. Most likely I'm committed to the rest of the movie.
Swayze's character laid out a simple 3 point plan to his fellow bouncers and waitstaff. Here is how I see the wisdom of his plan as it translates to BHPH/LHPH collections.
1. "Expect the Unexpected"
When you finally get to speak with that customer you've been trying to reach for what seems like forever, are you ready? Are you prepared to get ALL of the story and updated information? It seems like sometimes we are completely prepared for "the chase" and then totally unprepared to get some kind of resolution right then and there without the need for a call-back. Be ready so that you can come up with a tangible solution that they can be held accountable to that will resolve their account situation now and going forward.
2. "Take it Outside"
Once you establish contact with your customer, there are two issues to resolve: "Why are they late and how do we prevent future delinquency?" Approaching the customer with these two questions directly will most likely result in a defensive demeanor that will be counterproductive to resolving these two issues. "Take it Outside" refers to getting outside of the hotspot. Swayze told his staff to not handle it inside the bar unless necessary. "Take it Outside" means separating the delinquency status from the person and their situation. Examples of "Take it Outside" questions are, "Joe, why in the world am I out here knocking on your door?" or "Joe, what's going on? This isn't like you to not at least call." I want them to know that I'm on their side. We both want their account to be current, so let's "Take it Outside and figure this out. " If they don't want to do that and I have to use the "unless necessary" clause, I'm prepared to use. "Ok, Joe if you don't want to talk about it, your payment is due and I need you to make it...TODAY." (See Rule #1)
3. "Be Nice"
I have always gotten better results by getting someone to want to do the right thing, by just "Being Nice". They call you names? "Be Nice." Getting yelled at? "Be Nice." "Be Nice" and "Be Professional" are interchangeable. No matter what, always behave legally and ethically. "Being Nice" doesn't mean being a pushover or soft. It's just the opposite. It means honoring the contract to the letter and expecting the customer to do the same. Accountability is the key to minimizing delinquency issues now and in the future.
With all of the good practices listed in just one scene of Road House, I think I better watch from the beginning to make sure I didn't miss anything.
However, I won't admit to it.