Collection Calls: The Introduction

Collection Calls: The Introduction 9 november 2015

Just one of many types of calls used by the collections experts...

An essential credit and collections skill is the introduction call. Building a relationship with your customers before any collection process escalates can be the difference between 'Paid in Full' and 'Write Off'.  Early in my collection career I was told that "collections is sales". Admittedly I wasn't quite sure what that really meant but at the time but I was willing to give it try. There are certainly many correlations between sales and collections. Successful salespeople will tell you building relationships is paramount to success. If you want to collect a lot of money you might want to listen to those salespeople.

The first interaction with any customer should be by phone whenever possible. If a new customer is extended credit and their order is pending, strongly consider the introduction call. Letting a new customer know there is someone other than sales they can speak to about billing, invoicing, purchase orders, or anything else that may effect payment helps everyone. You can even use this opportunity to gently remind the customer about terms and conditions. It could prevent the common problem of putting collections and sales at odds due to miscues or misunderstandings throughout the Order-to-Cash process.

If you're new to a company and taking over an existing customer portfolio you should consider following a similar path. As you let existing customers know who you are, you will also find a lot of information that might assist you with future collection efforts. You will inevitably find out who makes the decisions, what certain customers like/dislike about your company, billing practices, your predecessor, and if you listen closely what you can do keep the cash flowing.

Emails and letters have their place. You can use these tools to follow up and they certainly help with confirming payment arrangements. Making the phone call first helps to personalize the relationship, even if it is just a detailed voicemail followed by an email.

While relying solely on emails to produce significant collection results and reduce DSO is the equivalent of throwing a handful of spaghetti noodles at the wall to see what sticks, there can be a blend of phone, mail, email and various communications that yields a recipe for success.

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Bron: LinkedIn page Jacob Robertson