When it comes to collections, one of the most time consuming tasks can be making phone calls. Often times you have to look up the customer account, recall past conversations and check notes all before making the call. Once on the call, you never know how the conversation will turn out. It’s best, when creating a collection strategy, to have a set script for your collection representatives to follow. This way, no matter what a customer throws at them, you know that they are following best practices and have the highest chance at collecting. Here are some steps that collection representatives can follow when making phone calls in your collection strategy.

Instead of jumping straight into collection mode, it is helpful to make conversation with the customer. Ask them how their day has been and make small talk. This will help to build a relationship and allow the customer to feel more comfortable speaking with you. The more comfortable they are, the more likely they will open up to you about their payment situation.

Once you have caught up with the customer, it’s time to ask about their outstanding payment. Including all information about when it was due, when you sent out the invoice, what the invoice number is, how much was due and any other information you sent them.

Once the payment is brought up, the customer will explain why they haven’t paid in order to fill the silence. Wait to see if the customer acknowledges that they have an outstanding debt that they owe on. Pay attention and see if there are any inconsistencies or contradictions that need to be addressed. This will give great insight into where the customer is at with their financials and whether they simply forgot or are aware of their late payment.

Always end the call with an agreement to pay. Ask them for a date when you can expect to see payment arrive and whether that will be coming in the mail or from your payment portal. Keep note of when they agreed to send payment in by and follow up on that date. If they are struggling to pay, make an agreement for payment installations.

It’s always a great idea to take notes during your phone calls, but one of the best ways to ensure a customer will pay on time is to record the conversation. You will have the customer’s promise to pay recorded, so they cannot argue it when the time comes. This holds extra weight of accountability for the customer. Having a set script and form for all collection representatives to follow ensures that your collection strategy will stay on track. If your collection representatives are approaching calls differently, some may see more success than others and some customers may fall out of sight. By reaching out to past due customers and recording the phone calls, you can ensure that you will collect quickly.