5 Keys to Making Effective Collection Calls

5 Keys to Making Effective Collection Calls

For many small and medium sized businesses making sure their accounts receivable are caught up can be a difficult job. Everything from staffing to revenue can affect this department and out of control accounts receivable can quickly bog down the whole company. The simplest and most effective way to handle them is to pick up the phone and make a collection call, but this can feel awkward and as a result many businesses don’t follow up on their accounts receivable like they should be. That changes today because the time is now to learn how to make an effective collection call just like the pros.

1) Preparation

The very first step before any collection call is to be prepared prior to making the phone call to your customer. Gather your information. You’ll want any pertinent invoices, work orders, customer information, and credit terms your customer agreed to on hand. Being prepared adds credibility to the nature of your call because you will have everything ready in advance to answer any questions your customer may have in regards to their overdue account; therefore putting you in control of the phone call.

2) Professionalism

When making a collection call being professional cannot be expressed enough, especially when your customer becomes confrontational or defensive. Maintaining your professionalism during such a call can be difficult, so it is up to you to remain calm and keep your composure. If they are angry or irate listen to them! They may be trying to provide you with missing information or let you know you overlooked something. In the end they aren’t the enemy they are your customer!

3) Ask for Payment

This is the meat and potatoes of every collection call ever made, asking for the payment. Always identify who you are and from where you are calling and then ask for the money that is owed to you; if you do not ask for it you will not receive it. Be sure to advise your customer of the payment options available to them such as credit cards, cash, e-transfers, etc. If payment in full is not possible for your customer, you should negotiate a payment pla that works for you and them and schedule follow ups until the account is paid back in full.

4) Keep Your Mind Open & Stay Positive

There are many reasons why your customer may not have paid their account on time, some are excuses, but others could be legitimate. This is why it is important to approach a collection call with an open mind, you just don’t know what is going on in your customers’ world. Maintaining an open mind and a positive attitude will go a long way during a collection call. Remember you’ll catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar.

5) Update Your Records

Take every opportunity when you speak to a customer to update their account records with new or additional information. Things like mailing addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail accounts are all things that can change frequently, and are easier to obtain from a customer when their\ account is in good standing. Maybe the reason that customer didn’t pay your invoice is that they moved and never received your invoice? This isn’t always going to be the case, but having up to date customer records can help prevent out of control accounts receivable from happening in the first place. There you have them, 5 Keys to making an effective collection call.

Remember they are Preparations, Professionalism, Ask for Payment, Keep Your Mind Open, Stay Positive and Update Your Records. By following this guide you’ll be a more effective collector and have more success in your pursuit of getting those overdue accounts paid!