I absolutely adore that song, “I Love Paris,” written by Cole Porter and published in 1953. As the “City of Lights”, this song embodies the romance and grandeur of Paris that has captured the imagination of millions around the world.
Now, cutting right to the chase, I know what you’re thinking. What does loving Paris have to do with collections? You see, like Paris, I also love my clients and although I don’t necessarily have images of romance, I do continuously think about how to improve our client relationships. In particular, it’s all about being their “Trusted Business Partner.”
As a collector, let me go down the list of some of the things I do to keep things bright in the City of Client Lights.
· Keeping the client abreast of the status of an account on a timely basis. Nothing can frustrate a client more than when they have to call and inquire as to “what’s happening.” When status reports go out regularly (or the client can access the status directly), the client knows the account is being worked.
· Discussing any questions or issues with the client that may impact or improve the claim’s collection potential. Reviewing an account before the first call is imperative, especially when important documentation or other information is missing that could greatly support the collectability of the claim.
· Learning about the client’s business and industry in order to more skillfully navigate objections for non-payment. At the end of the day, I am really only an extension of my client’s company and the more I know about their business, the better equipped I am to collect their accounts.
· Responding immediately to problems or complaints. When a client tells me there’s a problem, I need to apologize, hop on it right away and do everything I can to fix it. If it can’t be resolved right away, I will let the client know when it will be resolved, and then follow-up to make sure they are satisfied when it finally is.
· Establishing authorized settlement limits with the client so that I as the collector have some flexibility to settle an account if that will fairly expedite the collection. The converse of that is not making any agreements beyond what has already been authorized without discussing them first.
· Periodically calling and/or meeting with the client to discuss past collection performance and embrace their honest feedback. This is one of the most important ways for me to continue to improve my services and fulfill my client’s needs.
· Becoming the client’s “go-to” person for products and services that are not part of our own service line up. When a client can rely on my expertise for other things, I know they’ve reached a certain level of trust and comfort with me.
And so as the lights continue to shine bright in Paris, I will continue to strive to be every client’s Trusted Business Partner!
Hector the Collector is a credit and collection advice column by Nancy Seiverd, President, CMI Credit Mediators Inc. Your thoughts and comments (firstname.lastname@example.org) are most welcome!
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