Most collectors spend hours every working day making collection calls
and getting voice mail and busy signals. They leave messages asking
accounts payable to call back - knowing that the chances that they
will receive a return call are relatively low. For many collectors,
it becomes a numbers game...the more calls they make [including follow
up calls] the more likely they are to get someone to pick up, or return
their call or issue a payment. With this problem in mind, here are
some ways that collectors can increase the payback on each call that they
If you must leave a message, don't ask to be called back "as
soon as possible" or "at your earliest convenience." Instead,
ask to be called back that day. If the collector wants to add a little
mystery to the call, he or she can ask to be called back before an
odd time. For example, the collector might ask to be called back
today before 3:45 Pacific Standard Time.
If you call and reach someone who does not handle your account,
ask for payment status anyway. If they work in A/P, they should
be able to tell you when payment is scheduled.
If you are going to leave a message, leave your telephone number
at the beginning and at the end of the call. This way, there is
no doubt that the customer has it.
If you have an order pending, always tell accounts payable. In
many cases, an order pending will trigger A/P to handle your call
Recognize that A/P clerks working for companies that do not pay
vendors well usually prioritize calls because they receive more
voice mail messages than they can answer in a day. Knowing this,
should try to make their message stand out. How? Try using buzz
words or phrases such as:
When an order is pending, encourage collectors not to leave a
message. Suggest they go back to the company operator, explain
and ask to be transferred to someone who can help. In many companies,
the switchboard operator has been taught that a call from a vendor
with an order on hold should be given a special priority.
Using these simple techniques should improve collection results, and
reduce the stress that comes from being ignored by customers.
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