As many businesses can attest, the commercial collections process often starts with making a phone call. Usually, businesses will begin by placing the collections calls on their own. This process, known as first-party collections, can be difficult for employees with little to no collections experience. To help, we've put together this useful blog post to teach you the dos and donts of your commercial collections phone calls.
First, Review the File
Before picking up the phone, your employee needs to carefully review the file. At the very least, s/he need to know when the payment was due, the amount of the last payment, when that last payment was made, and the name of the person responsible for the account. Knowledge is key.
Get the Right Person on the Phone
Since we're talking about commercial collections, remember that you want your employees speaking with someone who has the authority to help. Your designated caller needs to ask to speak with the person listed on the account. If that person isn't with the company anymore, request the supervisor or their replacement.
Properly Identify Yourself and the Purpose of the Call
It's likely that the person who answers the phone wants to screen out sales calls. They may ask who is calling. Have your employee identify him/herself and the name of your company. At this time, your employee does not have to disclose the true purpose of your call (commercial collections). However, s/he can let the receptionist know that it isn't a sales call. If they press for information, let them know it is a billing matter.
Once the right person is on the phone, have your employee identify himself, your company, and inform the debtor that this is a collections call.
Give a Quick Update on the Account
Your employee will need to inform the debtor that the account is past due, the previous due date, the amount due, the last time you received a payment, and how much that payment was. This is particularly helpful if the original contact is no longer with the company.
Ask for a Payment
After answering any questions the company representative may have about the account, the employee should ask for a payment. If the representative asks your employee to call back at a later date to collect the payment, make a note to follow-up at that time. If they do not pay at that time, you may need to consider other commercial collections options, such as the assistance of an experienced collections attorney.