On my first day following training as a collector, I was assigned a relatively small group of accounts by my manager. After about two hours, my manager called me into his office. He asked if I remembered calling a customer about a $57 past due invoice that was less than a week past due. I said yes. He asked why. I said I called because the invoice was past due. After he finished laughing, he explained the idea of prioritizing collection calls this way:
Rather than simply working your way through the accounts assigned to you, start by calling customers with past due balances of let’s say $57,000 or more. After that, focus on accounts with $5,700 or more past due… and after that you call customers with $57 past due.
In hindsight, this meeting provided me with valuable lessons that I have used ever since. The most important involved the need to prioritize every collection call every day. This implies and necessitates getting and staying organized; keeping good notes about each call you make; finding a way to follow up systematically to ensure payment commitments are kept.
I cannot tell you how many times I have told this story, or how many times this basic idea about how to collect more efficiently is overlooked. My bet is this: If your department has three or more collectors, at least one of them does not systematically prioritize their outbound collection calls.
I would be very interested to hear whether I am right or wrong.
Michael Dennis’ Covering Credit Commentary. Michael’s website is www.coveringcredit.com.
The opinions presented are those of the author. The opinions and recommendations do not necessarily reflect the views of CMA, or their Officers and Directors. Readers are encouraged to evaluate any suggestions or recommendations made, and accept and adopt only those concepts that make sense to them.