These 10 steps will assist in making successful Debt-Collection calls:
PREPARE: Before making the call, know the history of the account, credit record, the promises kept/broken. Have all records ready for reference during the conversation.
ATTITUDE: Use a respectful, professional business approach. You have a right to receive payment — you; have a contract, delivered the goods, and money is owed to you. Don’t yell, raise your voice, swear or threaten. Outsourcing to a Collections Agency or taking legal action are your only recourse options if the debtor refuses to pay.
CONTACT: Ensure you speak with the person who pays the bill. If you can’t get through after several calls, tell the secretary that you know your calls are being screened. Indicate the purpose of your call and if necessary give deadlines.
CONTROL: Control the conversation. Keep it focused on the debt and repayment schedule. Don’t enter into conversation with their personal history or excuses — remember, all that dialog has one purpose, to avoid paying the bill. The purpose of your call is to collect money, or get a commitment — not to become buddies or win arguments.
FLEXIBLE: Be ready to adjust to the situation regarding your customer and adapt. Be prepared to accept a reasonable payment schedule.
NOTES: Keep detailed, accurate notes of every contact. Notes recording the details of the contacts will help you in subsequent contacts, and may be valuable in litigation. Good notes will help in further credit decisions, or where skip tracing is needed.
PRODUCTIVE: Keep contact brief and to the point. View your efforts on a ratio of time expended to results achieved. Long conversations probably mean the customer is stalling you, or working toward trapping you in the “buddy syndrome”.
PRECISE: Every contact should result in a commitment to pay, a specific amount, and a specific date.
TIME FRAME: The longer an account is held, the less likely it will be recovered. If payment is not arranged within 90 days, place the claim with a collection agency, or start legal proceedings.
COLLECTION AGENCY PLACEMENT: Use only an agency that is a member of the American Collectors Association OR the Commercial Law League of America. This will ensure you’re dealing with ethical professionals who are fully bonded to guarantee you receive your portion of the money they collected.