Getting on the phone with a customer to ask for payment can be an intimidating process. What if the customer yells at you? Or what if they just flat out refuse to pay? The more you work on your telephoning skills for accounts receivable, the more confident you will become and less intimidating by calling to make sure you get paid on time.

If you’re still uneasy about the process, below we list a few do’s and don’t for telephone collections. These will help you become more comfortable and confident, which will help you collect more. If they customer can tell you know what you’re doing, they will be less likely to make up and excuse to not pay on time!

  • Know when the last time the customer was spoken to i.e. any email correspondence or prior phone calls made
  • Know who you are calling
  • Make sure to let the caller know who you are and what company you are with
  • Know the details of the account i.e. what the amount due is, when it went past due and what they were sold
  • Stay professional no matter what the customer says
  • Listen to the customer
  • Take notes throughout the call or record the call, if possible
  • Create a hard payment date with the customer
  • Set a date for you to follow up with the customer
  • Escalate the account to a credit manager if the customer is not cooperating
  • You should not have your cell phone or any other distractions around while you are calling
  • Do not be eating or drinking while calling the customer
  • Don’t use speakerphone – ensure the customer can hear you clearly
  • Don’t have a bad attitude – remain positive
  • Don’t threaten or accuse the customer of lying
  • Don’t allow the customer to get off the phone without settling on a payment plan

To ensure you can follow all of the most important do’s on the list, like preparing for the call with the account information or taking notes on the call, is using an automated accounts receivable software. Often times, accounts receivable software keeps all of this information on an account in one place. You can record and transcribe the call for complete transparency. Automated escalations can push the call up to a credit manager, if necessary, and a follow up can be scheduled from within the communication call screen.