In the accounts receivable department, representatives are often constantly trying to do more with less. It’s a constant battle to find the most efficient way to collect as much money as possible, especially if you’re at a smaller company with a one, two or three man team. You simply don’t have the hours in the day to call every single overdue account, so you have to choose who gets a phone call and who is simply reminded to pay with an email.

This can be a balancing act to decide who to make a phone call to and when. A customer is much more likely to act on a phone call than they will to an email. Emails can get lost an in inbox, or simply never make it due to spam filters. Emails are easier to ignore or even forget about. For this reason, many people prefer to make phone calls to accounts that really need to pay up.

So, when should you make a phone call and when should you be sending out emails? You should prioritize emails to be going out to those who have the least amount of days past due on their account. These are friendly reminders to make a payment on their account as soon as possible. A customer could have always simply forgot, and these emails will push some accounts to make a payment, moving them off your list of accounts to worry about.

To send emails to everyone that is just a few days past due, using accounts receivable automation can help to maximize your time. By putting customers into aging buckets you can automate who gets what email and have them all sent out with just one simple click.

Once you have sent out an email to some of these accounts, schedule yourself a phone call follow up. At this point these accounts will be longer past due and they have ignored your first email attempt to collect. These customers are worthy of a phone call because they have had a chance to pay once already.

They key to deciding whether to send an email or make a phone call to collect on an account is how far past due they are. Sometimes it is tempting to make a phone call to those that have the largest amount past due, but those accounts that you haven’t heard anything from should be the most concerning. Send an email to anyone who is just 30 days late or less. Once they have crossed the 30 day line and received an email, it’s time to pick up the phone.