When was the last time you reviewed your collection procedures? Have you given your collectors any training lately? More attention, some changes to procedures, and perhaps a few dollars invested in staff training could make a big difference in your company’s bottom line. We’ve devised 12 questions to determine how many changes, if any, their collection functions need.
Answer the following questions honestly—no one is looking—to see if your collection function needs a few minor tweaks or perhaps a complete makeover.
1. Are your collectors aware that many companies have special vendor web sites where payment information can be accessed? Many of these sites show the date the invoice was received for processing and the date on which payment is scheduled. Other companies have this information available over the phone through an interactive voice response unit.
2. Do your collectors regularly check customers’ vendor web sites to make sure that all your invoices have been received and are scheduled for timely payment?
3. Do your collectors have all the information they need in front of them before they pick up the phone and dial the customer?
4. Do your collectors quickly review the account history before making that collection call?
5. Do they make sure that all disputes have been resolved and that they are not wasting their valuable telephone time trying to collect an unresolved, disputed invoice?
6. Do your collectors have the correct contact person for the customer along with his or her direct phone number? This should be a decision maker who can get a check written, not a clerk in accounts payable—unless that clerk can get a check cut for you.
7. Have your collectors been trained in proper telephone techniques for collection issues? (If not, I can help with this)
8. Do your collectors follow up promptly on broken promises?
9. If your company can receive electronic payments, are your collectors armed with the necessary information to give the customer so it can pay you electronically?
10. Do your collectors take notes and document every collection call?
11. Do you give your collectors the authority to take partial payments and set up payment plans?
12. Do you pay incentives your collection staff based on not only their own returns, but also on those of the entire department?
These things are the basic things that a reputable collection agency does. Of course a top collection agency does much more. If you do the basics and leave the complicated stuff to the collection services you’ll be much better off in the long run!
Brent Anderson, P.C.S.
Director of Business Development
888-212-2021 Ext. 201