Once you have selected a collection agency partner, how do you keep the process on track and get the maximum benefit of outsourcing your debt collection?
From start to finish, communication is key.
Your first step is to give the agency all the information they will need to collect the debt. Ask your collection agency if they have a form that to help you. At very least, you will need to provide a detailed statement showing all payments and charges and all contact information you have for the debtor. If you have a customer contract, include it, or at least include the parts of the agreement that refer to payment terms.
If the customer has disputed the bill, let your agency know. Arm your agency with the information they need to counter the dispute. By law, consumers have the right to dispute a bill, and once disputed the agency must respond with verfication of the debt within 30 days of cease collection efforts. A customer dispute does mean an agency cannot collect a debt. It just means you may need to provide additional information.
Oftentimes, a customer (who has avoided you for months) will surface and call you, and beg/demand/plea/promise anything if they are taken out of collection. Circumstances differ, but our advice is to let your collection agency do the job you hired them to do. We assume you gave customers the opportunity to pay you before sending their file to collection and there is no guarantee, if you pull a file, that they will pay you. So, short of receiving payment in full, we recommend keeping the files in collection. If you are uncomfortable with a certain file, discuss the file with your agency, as they have likely seen similar cases before.
Some customers, even after they are sent to collection, will still pay you directly. This is not a bad thing. It does not mean your agency is not dong their job. Some people just prefer to pay the original creditor directly. Accept the payment, and let your agency know immediately. it is critically important that you report direct payments for two reasons. First, you do not want someone who has done the right thing and paid to continue receiving calls and letters. Secondly, you want your agency to focus their time and energy on collecting the files that remain unpaid.
Lastly, if you hear anything about a customer – a new job, new business, change of address or any new intelligence, pass it on. Even if you are not sure it is significant, it could be key to getting you paid. So, pass it on?
Great collection agency results begin when you select the collection agency that is right for you. Our free e-book helps you do just that!