Making collections calls can be one of the most challenging aspects of operating a business. Past due accounts can even pile up simply because debt collection calls are awkward and uncomfortable to make. But you can ease some of your own apprehension just by preparing for the debt collection calls before you make them.
Do these things before you pick up the phone:
1. Make a list of excuses
Make a list of the most common reasons and excuses for non-payment you’ve heard in the past. Then, make a list of your best possible responses. What worked before? What didn’t? Go ahead and rehearse your responses out loud.
For example, it’s not at all uncommon to hear the old-standby, “the check is in the mail.” And it’s GREAT if it is. But since you don’t know for sure, you’ll want to press for a resolution. Consider a response like, “Great! May I have the check number, amount and date sent so I can make sure it posts correctly?” With a response of this nature, you’ll not only be taking a helpful stance but you’ll also be moving toward a speedy debt recovery.
2. Know the specifics of the past due account
Make sure you have the following things at your fingertips in advance of the collections call. Having this information will help you maintain control of the call.
How much is owed?
What are the terms of the sale?
What did they purchase?
When was the payment due?
Are there other open invoices beyond what you’re calling about?
What is their payment record with you?
3. Prepare to listen with a positive attitude
A positive disposition and upbeat voice often help to set a good tone for a past due account call. Take a few minutes to think positively and prepare your self for a professional, pleasant and respectful conversation. Be prepared to give your customer the time he/she needs to explain the circumstances.
What do you do to prepare for a collections call?