Information is a great way to keep in contact with your customers for a whole host of reasons. Marketing new products and services, rescheduling appointments and good old fashioned customer service.

It’s also vital to working with your customers to work out late payments. After all, the easier it is to get in contact with a delinquent account, the easier you can resolve that payment issue. We can’t tell you how many times we see a business come to us and they have very little information on their clients. In fact the credit bureaus just released news that starting in 2017 you may not be able to report someone to a credit bureau without a full date of birth and social security number.

Here are just a few tip s on what you need to do to collect the proper information from your customers.

Collect all the personal information you can: A first name and last name just isn’t enough. You need a physical address and all phone numbers. Just about any information you’d use to check credit history should be collected. This information won’t just help you contact the customer, but also determine their reliability.

Collect as much contact information as possible: This also includes any and all email addresses, phone numbers, and emergency contact numbers. Remember to collect it all up front! A great way to do this is on a credit application or if it’s a new customer, consider an info sheet from all new clients.

Less information, more problems: The less data you have on your customer, the harder it is to get in touch with them—which means the less likely you are to get your money. We mentioned it’s hard to get paid when you don’t have good information and it can be even harder for a collection agency to help you if you come in with nothing. There are other methods but the best method is to have your customer information up front.