Phone Calls vs. Emails for Debt Collection: Which is Better?

Phone Calls vs. Emails for Debt Collection: Which is Better?

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Hi, my name is Adam Stewart, Debt Collection Expert and owner of Debt Recoveries Australia.

Since I started in debt collection 20 years ago, the way individuals communicate with each other has changed dramatically. From telephone calls, door knocks and faxes to emails and text messages, advancements in technology have made it much easier for individuals to get in touch with one another.

Today, individuals communicate through text messages and emails more than they do through telephone calls. Recently, I discussed how to write a good debt collection email. Previously, I have discussed how to collect debts by phone.

But which is better for debt collection: Phone calls or emailing?

People have their own preferences, maybe personal and/or company dictated, about calling or emailing debtors. The trick is to find the balance that uses the right method at the right time in the right situation.

Personally, I still prefer calling people and following up the call with a confirmation letter by email, stating what we agreed, particularly when it comes to disputes or promises to pay.

This may sound old fashioned and “un-hip” but it worked in the 1990s and still does today. The last thing your debtor will be expecting is a phone call. What you need to do is stand out from the crowd and do what is least expected. A phone call will certainly do the trick.

Calling is a very fast and effective way to collect money. It’s also harder to ignore a problem situation when you are speaking directly with another human. People are more likely to open up over the phone and you can get more insight into a problem even if that insight comes from reading between the lines.

Quick problem solving

By calling, it’s easier to solve a problem when you are having a conversation over the phone than back-and-forth over email. Working together to solve problems is also a big component of building close relationships with your debtors and providing excellent customer service.

Ask your debtor what they prefer

Don’t forget to ask your debtor which method of communication works well for them. The trick is to make it as easy as possible for your debtor to get in touch with you, so ask them which they prefer and make a notes of this on your case. A lot of people will tell you they prefer email – it’s less confrontational, takes less time to respond to than a phone call but it’s also easier to ignore.

Put them on your list of customers to email first. Then, if they don’t respond to your emails, be prepared to call. Same goes for people who don’t respond to phone calls first. Make sure you have processes in place to follow up if you don’t hear back after 7 days or the 2nd call or email. When you follow up – it is a best practice to use more than one method of communication.

Can’t decide? Do both!

Never rely on just phone or just an email. If you don’t get them on the phone, leave a voicemail, then send the email. If you email a customer and get no response, always call to follow up. By using both methods in tandem you get the best of both worlds and are able to effectively use both calling and emailing in the best possible way they were intended.

What has worked best for you when communicating with debtors? Share them with us.


Debt Recoveries Australia is the expert at recovering your outstanding debts without the drama. For more information, email us at or call 1300 799 511. Talk to us about your debt collection concerns via Skype at debtrecoveries.

2 Comments on “Phone Calls vs. Emails for Debt Collection: Which is Better?

  1. I like what you said about asking debtors what they are more comfortable with when it comes to methods of communication. My friend is starting her own business and wants to have debt collection procedures in place. Thanks for the information about how many people prefer email and to take note on their preferences to be sure.

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