10 Tips to help collect past due accounts

by JR Rooney

Ten Tips on how to collect debt:

PREPARE: Reviewing the paperwork prior to calling is important. If you know the history of the account, the promises kept/broken and payment history you sound better on the phone. Have all records in front of you, ready for reference.

ATTITUDE: Adopt a straight, professional business-like attitude. You have a contract, you delivered the goods, money is owed, and you have a right to expect payment. Never let it become personal. Don’t yell or raise your voice; and NEVER swear. Don’t threaten; legal action is your recourse.

CONTACT: Make sure you’re talking to the right person. Don’t let the individual brush you off with “You’ll have to talk to the bookkeeper.” Identify the person who will pay the bill. If you cant get through after several calls, tell the secretary that you know your calls are being screened. Indicate the purpose of your call and if necessary give deadlines.

CONTROL: Try to always control the conversation. Keep it focused on the debt and the debt only. Do not let the debtor attempt to sidetrack you with personal history, excuses, or other B.S.. Remember, the only objective of your call is to collect the money, or get a commitment to pay. Now is not the time become friends with the debtor or try to win an argument.

FLEXIBLE: Always be prepared to adapt to any situation. Try to think about the kind of customer you are dealing with and work to overcome the obstacle. Be prepared to accept a reasonable payment plan or settlement, and a willingness to deal with a customers circumstances.

NOTES: Always keep detailed, accurate notes of every contact with the account. Probe for further information on the customer. Notes of these contacts will help you in subsequent phone calls, and may be invaluable in litigation. Accurate notes will also help in further credit decisions, or in cases where skip tracing may be needed.

PRODUCTIVE: Keep calls brief and to the point. This is a business call only, not a social one. Try to view your efforts on a ratio of time expended to results achieved. Long conversations usually mean the customer is stalling for time or trapping you in the buddy syndrome.

PRECISE: Never leave a call open ended, such as “Well talk next week,” or “Ill send what I can.” Every single call should result in a commitment to some kind of payment, You need a specific amount, by a specific date, even the check number the customer is using to pay the promise.

TIME: The longer an account is outstanding, the less likely it is that it will be paid. If payment is not arranged or a payment plan is not established within 90 days, place the claim with a collection agency or start legal proceedings.

PLACEMENT: Try to choose an agency that does not have to pay to get your information. Just type in “Collection Agency” to any search engine and pick a firm that ranks organically.

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