Top 5 Telephone Collection Tips that work!

Richelle Shaw is the country’s only female African American public utility owner.  Richelle has extensive expertise in telephone collections and was generous enough to share some tips that she has used for years to collect on public utilities that have worked very well for her:

1. Treat each customer as if they are your only customer – make sure that each situation is considered individually.  Review their payments and make sure before extending additional time to pay.  This can only work if you empower your collection department to make decisions.  The only decision should be to collect the money and make deals.
2. Ask for a small payment with a promise to pay.  If the customer is sincere, they will agree to make a small payment.  Normally we ask for 15% of their outstanding balance in order for us to extend their payments.  The good faith payment goes a long way in showing commitment.
3. Don’t harass, the customer.  They will just ignore your call.  Blocking the caller ID function just makes it more difficult.
4. Even with the regulations regarding collecting, leave a clear message regarding the call.  Don’t use language like this is the last call before legal, it just makes the customer ignore your calls or wait for your bluff.
5.  Best Tactic for collecting – create a promotion for collection.  It works with businesses and with consumers.  We reward customers for paying on time.  Not with the standard 5% discount because it is not enough to make some one take action, we offered free dinners for everyone who paid on time – we were able to get the restaurant to donate the gift certificates because they wanted new customers.  No one eats alone normally so it was a win – win for the restaurant and for my customers.

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