Just as an aside, because of the importance of the topic of collections to most businesses, I delighted to let you know that we have developed a new qualification in the area. There is a Qualified Consumer Collector for all who work on consumer collections and a Qualified Trade Collector for anyone working in a B2B environment. If you are working in collections and enjoy these articles I am sure you will enjoy the content, the tips, the insights and the knowledge the material will bring, as well as the confidence of knowing that you are a qualified collector. Feel free to contact me to get full details.
Now, what about the first stage of the collection process – Preparation. There are a number of things you have to do:
1. Make sure your own attitude is up to scratch. In the same way a salesperson competes for your customers business you are competing for their money. You have to be clear, concise and confident.
2. Check that of all the balances on the ledger, the person you are calling represents the highest available balance to collect. The only exception to this rule is when you are following up on a previous promise to pay from the customer.
3. Make sure you know who you are calling – is it a person or a company, if it is a company what is the name of the person you wish to speak to?
4. Make sure you know the exact amount you are looking for, exactly what the terms are and exactly when the amount should be paid.
5. Set out a clear outcome for the call – I am calling X to arrange payment of €Y, to be in our bank account before the end of the month. If you set out a clear intention for every single call in advance along the lines of the outcome statement above you will find you will be much more focused and successful.
A few other tips, when you are calling your customers make sure your workspace is neat and tidy. A confused working environment will lead to confused conversations. If you are working from a system generated cal list, all you need is your screen and your headset to keep your hands free to record the conversation.
If you aren’t working in a hi tech environment, if you have a copy of the ledger, the screen, your phone and your diary to take a note of required future action on your desk – that should be enough.
Finally block off chunks of time for making calls say between 10am and 12pm and 2.30pm to 4pm if you are working in a B2B world tends to work best. Use the other hours for reports, follow up query management and other admin tasks.
If you are working with consumer s, the hours between 6pm and 8pm are the most effective.