It’s happened to the best of us. Even with impenetrable credit practices in place, the best intentions, the best relationships, the best business ethics, someone, at some point, has left you with the bill.
So when that happens, the question becomes when is the right time to use a Debt Collection Agency? The answer? As soon as the communication is no longer proceeding to an effective recovery.
FACT: No one wants to get caught owing money, especially in the economic climate of today. FACT: No one wants to have to collect it knowing what the economic climate is today. FACT: An agency can reduce the average recovery time by up to 78%.
An example of the effectiveness of Debt Collection Agencies.
Have you ever had an account that no matter what you did you could not get through to the individual? By the end of your internal account receivable program you could care less if Jane Smith came to your club again? Over and over it’s the same calls, the same invoices, the same responses, the same excuses, until you no longer care. 60 days delinquent the account moves to an agency: BANG! 3 days later there’s the full payment from Mrs. Smith probably with a letter of apology. ( I have personally witnessed collectors receiving roses for assisting with the clearing of debt) Infuriating! Why? Simply put because they work!
The collection agent has no further investment on that file that he/she does with any other file in the office. While you specialize in assisting people to live a healthy life inside and out, have attended strenuous training and practice what you preach daily, these guys have perfected the hot spots of getting someone to pay. Collection agents have perfected the approach, the execution, the recovery. And they can do this with a smile on their face. The collection specialist has trained, practiced, measured and retrained to be an effective recovery expert.
Perception: That 16 year old shoplifter…. They will keep on with the five finger discount until they get caught, why? They have the perception they aren’t hurting anybody, “It’s a corporation, no one will care”. Kid gets caught by the in-house security, that kid is still smiling inside because as far as he’s concerned it doesn’t affect his “real life”: parents don’t know, friends don’t know, oh well lost a little of the booty. What’s the next phase: well it’s pretty much the same level either way: police or parents. HA! Now where’s the smile? This has now become serious, the secret is out. There is explaining and backtracking that need to occur.
Now put this into your accounts: There is a level of familiarity that occurs just by being a part of the company. As long as the account is in house the urgency level will only go so far, the stress will only elevate to a certain level. How long before you’re threatening litigation you don’t have any intention of pursuing? How long before your frustration with one account is bleeding into your approach to other accounts? An assignment to a collection agency, as an idea, is enough for some people to resolve the account. For others it’s a nightmare of images at the mention: images of jail, wage garnishments, bankruptcy, court rooms, unwashed unruly barbarians with a pad of paper or a crow bar. I’m sure at some point these are the thoughts that have gone through your own head, possibly worse.
Imagine the results when an educated articulate individual understanding the psychology and reasons for delinquency comes on the line and works diligently to find a road to recovery for the individual? There’s no previous history there, no disputes, no rapport: strictly business. Either you have an intent to pay the account or you don’t. Period. An agency representative is familiar with all available options under the rights of the law, but is also familiar with the nuances of credit that affect everyone whether they know it or not. An agency will use the correct formats to bring about recovery and will allow you and your staff the option to continue your relationship with your customer without having to harp on the delinquency. I mean, really, there’s enough gossip in the clubs out there, I don’t want someone to be peeking at my checkbook while I’m doing squats. What about you?
So when you next go into your delinquent account summary, take a serious look at all of your Mrs. Smith’s. Is it time to call in the specialists? Hey, I’ll collect for you just show me how to get my abs back!