In business, sometimes we have to deal with things we don’t want to, such as collections. Using effective communication tools, you should be able to secure your payments with ease. Depending on your business, you may have to use these tools more than others. It’s very important to always have plans in place for collecting money owed to you. Below, you will find some Tools for Effective Collections Communication.

Start off the right way – going in with effective tools and avoid the drama and frustration from the get-go!

Tools for Effective Collections Communication

Telephone Limitations


Wait for the debtor to finish before you speak and avoid talking in between pauses. Avoid the urge to interrupt the individual, even though your message is important. They may be trying to decide how to tell you the actual reason why payment hasn’t been made.

 

Never put down or try to make the debtor look ill-considered as it only creates disagreements and reduces communication. Even when you disagree, don’t be intimidating. Remain calm and approach the situation with sensitivity and consideration: “I may be mistaken, but as per our information. . . .”

 

Refrain from badgering or intimidating the debtor. If you approach the conversation with this kind of tone, you’re likely to reduce communication and prevent negotiation. In some situations, this kind of approach may be against the law.

 


Do not use expletives or angry words at the debtor. In some states, cursing may actually violate laws, and the debtor may file a suit against your firm for damages. You want to avoid giving the debtor an excuse to decline payment, even if it isn’t illegal.

 

Don’t call out over debtors, which includes raising your voice. If they start to shout, speak more gently (not louder), and more slowly (not faster).

 

Avoid hanging up on a debtor. If you can’t decide on all points, close the conversation with a way for the debtor to call you back.


Example: If you differed about an outstanding amount or when it would be paid, you might say: “There’s no reason for us to argue about this. Why don’t you review your records and call me tomorrow between 3 and 5 p.m. to let me know how we can rectify this. I’ll have your account on my desk when you call.” Make it a friendly recommendation, not a masked claim that the other person triggered the argument.

 

Usual mistaken belief: If a current or prior customer gave your name as a credit reference, you can say anything you choose. Never discuss your debtor’s financial situation with a third party other than in a permitted exchange of credit information with a valid credit bureau—and check with the company attorney prior to speaking to the credit bureau.

 

When credit information is disapproving, people can and do, take legal action for wrongdoing. Do not give out any credit information, unless you have a customer’s permission in writing.

 

The best course of action: Refrain from comments unrelated to the facts of the missing payment. If your comments or
jokes are viewed aloud in court in a mutter, they will sound like hateful attacks.


If debtors know the reason for your call, they may not return it. Don’t specify the reason for your call on voice mail unless you are certain it will be heard only by the person you want to reach. Embarrassing debtors can provide them with another reason not to pay. Leave your name, phone number, and extension, but consider excluding the name of your firm.

 

Phone and Written Communication


Unless the dispute requires management involvement, the same collector should handle an account from start to finish. This cultivates a relationship and avoids having different people offer the debtor different deals.

Also, continue with the same contact at the debtor’s firm to form a relationship. The better the relationship, the likelier you are to be paid promptly.

Don’t feel like a pest. The pest is the slow payer, not the collector. Be determined.

At any step in the collections process, don’t impend any action that you are not ready and authorized to take.


Want more?

Looking for more bookkeeping information or tips? Check out our post on 5 Common Bookkeeping Pitfalls – and How to Avoid Them