When calling your student loan company, there is often so much information you want to cover in so little time. As a result, you need to maximize your experience by using these five simple steps when dealing with your loan servicer.
1. Have All Your Documentation In Front of You
This includes any pertinent bills, check book, your online account pulled, or anything else that will make your phone call easier. It is hard to help someone when every time you ask a question they are running from one place to another trying to find something. In addition, if you are a visual person we can help walk you through bills so the next time you won’t have to take the time out of your day to call!
2. Know Your Budget
If you are calling to say you can’t make a payment, you will often times be asked if there is a payment you can afford. The reason for this is because there is only a limited amount of time of forbearances and deferments, plus the loans have to be paid eventually. We love to help people figure out ways to make the numbers work for them but it can’t happen unless you know what the number is first. So before you call, sit down with a pen and paper, create a budget, and see where your loans fit in at.
3. Don’t be distracted
This one can be the toughest. As you know life happens and it may not be possible to quiet your screaming two year old. But I can tell you from experience it is hard to come up with a solution if fifty other things are going on in the background. Try and pick a convenient time that works for you with little distractions for the ten minutes or so you’ll need. It will significantly benefit you in the long run! Also if you are trying to get things done quickly because you are so busy, try making a list of your questions. It is much more efficiently and will make it go as easy as A,B,C (a little list humor!).
4. Do Your Research
Know the basics behind the payment plans, forbearance and deferment options, or any other things you have questions about. This will allow you to start with a base and for your loan servicer to expand that knowledge and fill in any gaps you have. It will always help you more quickly figure out what direction you want to go and make an educated decision. The website is a great place to begin as your servicer’s site is a wealth of information. In my experience, I have also found borrower’s who are more educated tend to not jump from thought to thought as much and are able to accomplish the goal of their call with ease.
5. Silence can be golden
Sometimes the answer to your question is easy. Sometimes it is not. I know from calling places how uncomfortable silence is and we are trained to make small talk to fill the space while we research. But for the really complicated accounts, sometimes you just need to read and digest. The best way to do this is in silence. As a result, fight the urge to speak and know that we are working diligently to figure out an answer for you. Also avoid asking additional questions while your servicer is researching your original one. Many times I am trying to find out how much a borrower’s payment is and they are asking if they qualify for forgiveness. This causes me to leave what I am doing and sometimes we never return. For the best results use the method from number 3 and write down any questions you have or list all your questions up front so we can work on them in order.