There is no stopping the credit department, even in a pandemic. As we’ve talked to customers around the globe, it seems many of our customers are still working – from home.
As business continues for many of our customers, so does the collections process. We have a few suggestions to help you be efficient and effective in your first-party collection efforts.
Be on time. One of the hardest parts of working from home is keeping a schedule. Perhaps the snooze button gets pushed a few more times. Or, you linger over an extra cup of coffee. All of this can be great, but it can also cause more tension in your day and cause prevent you from having enough time to complete key tasks.
Be organized. As you reach out to customers, make sure you are keeping accurate notes of the conversations. You may have access to your office files, or you may not as technology issues get sorted out, but this is not the time to be sloppy in your documentation. It is likely everything can and will be questioned or reviewed from this time, so make sure there is clear, concise and complete documentation.
Set goals. Do the best you can to set realistic expectations for the number of files you need to research and calls you want to make. It is likely everything is going to take a bit longer than you expect.
Have empathy and understanding. This is a new time for everyone. While it is reasonable to expect your customers to pay on time, now is the time for continued good will and faith that helps build a path to a strong, continued relationship.
Be flexible. Unfortunately, the customers that were problems before the pandemic will still be problems. Perhaps they are trying to amend existing payment plans. They are showing intent. So, is it possible to reduce the $1,000/month payment to $500/month for 90 days?
Consistency and calm matters. In matters of collection strategies, it is important to hold the line, but remain calm. Take time to listen and understand the situation. Offer suggestions of other ways to pay – bank loans, cashing in bonds or other assets, loans from family, etc. You want to keep the lines of communication open, so keeping calm will go a long way.
Don’t use your cell phone. It’s tough because your cell phone is easy to use when working remotely, but there are more reasons to not use it. First, your customer may not pick up a number they don’t recognize. Second, it gives the customer your personal contact information. Third, it takes the contact outside the company system. Everything should be trackable and your cell phone may not be.
Have other questions about first-party collections? BARR Credit Services can help. Contact us at 1-877-654-1234 or info@BARRCredit.com.