Most organizations have collectors spread across a number of locations with varying levels of experience and areas of expertise. However, regardless of a collector’s experience, there are ten steps that all accounts receivable collectors can take to get the job done more efficiently and successfully.
So, what does it take to be a top-notch collector?
- Be well versed on the aging results for your customers – including total outstanding, number of accounts, potential past due aging, month-end target, gap to target – and be able to discuss progress daily. In short – be accountable
- Know the status of your top 20 past due accounts or account families – and be able to provide headlines of major issues and disputes, actions taken to resolve, and clearly verbalize any help needed
- Make sure all your accounts or account families receive a statement in the first week of every month. This way both you and your customers will have plenty of time to work on getting payments sent and issues resolved by month end
- Make sure your customers are receiving invoices. If there are invoice delivery issues, find out where the breakdown is. Send the invoices right away and escalate to resolve the delivery problem before additional future billings are sent
- Know how frequently to work your accounts. Every slow paying past due account should be worked at least twice monthly, by whatever means is appropriate for the account type. Low value accounts or accounts in good standing may only need automated reminder calls or emails. The mid to higher balance accounts and aging accounts will require more work and escalations to drive resolution
- Work your on-account cash and credits. Make sure to talk to customers about usable credits or unapplied cash on the account, so they can take them on future payments. You may need to do an account reconciliation to explain why the credits or cash weren’t applied
- Escalate with your customer if you can’t get a payment commitment early in the month. If you connect with the same person twice and don’t make forward progress, escalate according to your escalation matrix
- Don’t be afraid to ask your customer for an on time payment on any non-disputed invoices. If they give you a payment date, tell them when you will follow up and then do it!
- Escalate through the proper approval process. If the customer says an invoice is awaiting approval and it’s been more than a few days, ask for the approver information and reach out to them
- Build strong relationships with your large and strategic accounts. Convey your personality during calls and make sure they know you’re there to help them. Most customers do care about their account standing and will appreciate your efforts on any issues. Good customer relationships often leads them to paying your invoices before others.
Finally, if there’s one takeaway I’d like to convey on how to be a top-notch collector with a healthy portfolio and strong customer relations, it is – strive to “be proactive, not reactive.”
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Caroline Schneider has been delivering and designing O2C solutions for clients for over 20 years. She is passionate about delivering solutions to clients to maximize their working capital through technology, automation, and industrialized process design.
This blog was written by Nancy Salter – a member of Caroline Schneider’s team. Nancy focuses on improving the overall quality of service we deliver to our clients by leveraging Capgemini’s transformative credit-to-cash solutions to streamline and reimagine processes and technologies for enhanced efficiency, while building strong customer relationships and partnerships.