When it comes to collections, making the call is a crucial element in the process. The call can be made either by phone or in person. In person tends to be more effective, although it is more expensive and more resource hungry. This article will concentrate on the telephone call. Re read last week’s article that deals with preparation and getting yourself ready for the call.
Assuming all the preparation has been completed successfully and you know before you start the desired outcome from the call, dial the number with purpose. There are two types of customer and two types of call. The first is when your business sells and collects from other businesses (B2B); the second is when your business sells directly to consumers (B2C).
In B2B you should always ask for and speak to your own contact in your customer’s office. Calls should be friendly, co-operative and focused on the required outcome for both of you. If you don’t know the name of the person in your customer’s accounts department – ask for it! When the phone is answered ask the question “Who is the person who looks after the payment of our account?” Armed with the contact name you are more likely to build rapport and be more successful.
In B2C the first stage of every call is to establish you are talking to the right person, depending on the size of your organization the whole Data Protection compliance increases as your company increases in size, there are many levels of establishing you are talking to the correct person, make sure your method is appropriate to your organization and the protection of your customers.
In all cases there are a set of steps you must go through and there are three stages to the call that you really have to know in order to be successful. In simple terms we will go through the steps in summary form here.
Stages of a call:
- Identification – getting through to the correct person
- Stating the clear purpose of the call
- Establishing the reason for non-payment
- Dealing effectively with any objections and issues that could get in the way of payment.
- Getting the commitment
If you have ever been on one of our training courses, you will know how to distinguish between a customer who can’t pay, a customer that won’t pay and a customer that shouldn’t pay. And we go in depth on how to establish which category they come into and how to deal with each one effectively. If you are interested in finding out more about collections we have launched our Qualified Trade Collector and Qualified Consumer Collector courses to give all the information you will ever need to excel at this important function.
One major point here to excel at points four and five you have to learn to LISTEN. In fact I think it is the most important skill if you are to become a successful collector.
Then you have to get the commitment, you have to establish how much they are going to pay, exactly when they are going to pay and finally how they are going to pay the amount in question.
Finally, you must take a note of every call you make, and exactly what was promised and then you must write a follow up note for yourself to contact the customer in the event that the commitment was not honored in full.
Irish Credit Management Training
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P: 01 659 9466
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Declan Flood FIICM, Founder and Chief Executive of Irish Credit Management Training is a, renowned trainer, international speaker and author with over 20 years hands on experience in Credit Control and Credit Management with major Irish & International Companies.
He is a graduate of the IICM Education program and a Qualified Business Coach. He received his Qualification in Training & Development from National University of Ireland. He has been training in all aspects of credit management for many years, generating a sense of enthusiasm and urgency that has been experienced by all who have been through the training experience.