There is an art to being successful at collections. The process requires, at the very least, some finesse to calm the “fight-or-flight response” many consumers experience when dealing with debt and those who collect it. Before you send out your first statement, there are some simple strategies you should be using that will make recovering money owed to you easier to do.
1. Accurate and detailed demographic information – This might sound like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many accounts we’ve received for collections that are missing critical information. This type of information would include: name, address, home/cell phone numbers, date of birth, Social Security number, marital status, and place of employment. Don’t forget address and phone number of employer.
2. Have a financial agreement or contract in place – It’s important you communicate a clear understanding of your expectation of payment for services (or goods) received. Get legal advice when writing your agreement because the language in these types of documents is extremely important, especially if you want to be covered in case you have to take legal action in order to receive payment in full.
3. Verify information – When you have the opportunity to provide ongoing services, verify the information listed above each and every time. Please do not verify by asking, “Has anything changed since your last visit?” Many times this question will be answered with a “no” even when the answer is “yes.” In a medical setting, many patients only think about their insurance when contemplating changes and will answer “no” even though they might have moved a while ago. When verifying information always give the information you have on file, such as, “Do you still live at 1313 Mockingbird Lane, and can we still contact you at 555-1234?”
4. Due date – You don’t want your statement to end up at the bottom of the stack of bills. When sending out statements always have an actual due date. “Upon receipt” and “within 30 days” are ambiguous terms that oftentimes provide wiggle room for delaying payment.
5. Start your collection process quickly – When a due date has come and gone and no payment has been received, it is important to have a protocol in place in order to start the collection process. It could be a friendly reminder phone call or a letter–whatever you decide–but have a plan and begin it quickly. Fact: the older a debt becomes, the harder it will be to collect.
I know none of these tips are new or shocking, but sometimes reviewing the basics and making minor changes can result in major improvements.
Alliance Collection Agency, Inc. is a full service, licensed accounts receivable management and debt collection agency providing highly effective, customized one on one management and recovery solutions for our business partners. Founded in northern Illinois in 2005, we have been proudly improving the bottom-line on behalf of our business partners in and around Chicagoland for over 10 years.