Our team is on the phone just about every day talking with business owners and others that may be responsible for keeping a business profitable. While some may call them sales professionals because in the end, we are trying to gain them as a client, they are also problem solvers at the core. Yes, they talk about how our system can help their business when it comes to cash flow and as a collection agency, that is what we do.
But they also listen intently to hear what those potential clients are saying and what their areas of pain are in a small or medium sized business. When we listen, our team can do a much better job of making sure they get on the right track to getting more timely payments from their customers.
Here are just a few of the main themes we hear often. Anything sound familiar?
Customers are not paying us!
The obvious first thing we hear is that their customers are not paying them or paying on time. That’s why they called us and why we are on the phone. And if we called them, (Because yes, we do cold call…) in many cases we still hear the same thing after chatting for a bit. Not all of their customers are current in their obligations to that business and it’s starting to take a toll on cash flow.
In a lot of cases, when we talk with a business, we find out that customers not paying is nothing new and in fact, it’s been going on for some time, even years. Maybe they just dealt with the issue as they knew how and never really got serious about making sure payments came in on time. And when we get the call, it’s become more than a nuisance. It’s starting to affect cash flow.
Our cash flow is down.
Speaking of cash flow, it’s another topic that comes up in just about every conversation with a potential client. When customers don’t pay or pay late, your cash flow will suffer. And when we get into more detail with a business, we find just that. Cash flow is starting to become a problem. When the business takes a step back to figure out why there is not as much cash in the bank as they thought they had, they begin to figure out that they have more than a handful of customers that have not paid them yet.
Cash flow as you know is the backbone of your business and when it becomes an issue, more problems arise because you lack cash flow. One of the first places to look is your receivables.
We’ve hesitated to use a collection agency.
We understand when a business tells us that they are unsure about using a collection agency for their business. And there are a few reasons why some businesses hesitate to take that next step. The first is they do not want to lose their customers. Most feel that as soon as you take that next step and place a customer into collections, that you have lost them forever. That’s not always the case and in fact, if the debt collection process is done diplomatically, the chances of a business keeping that customer are far greater. Diplomacy, tact and respect not only help you keep a customer, but by being nice, you have a better chance of resolving that debt with your customer.
Cost is also always on the mind of a business when it comes to debt collections. Most businesses think that the only way to place a customer into collections involves giving up most of the original amount of the bill they are trying to collect. Because they don’t want to part with that money, many businesses decide to work a late customer internally for months and even years. What surprises many is when they find out that there are low-cost collection agencies out there. And we are one of them. You can develop a dialog with customers that don’t pay for a small fee and get them back on track. If you are worried about how much it will cost to hire a collection agency, it makes sense to ask if they offer a low-cost debt collection solution.
Are your employees well trained?
We’ve all watched some of those nightly news magazines and seen poorly trained employees in all kinds of industries. When you have any company contacting your customers, you want to know that they are trained properly, and they are treating your customers fairly and respectfully. If you are looking for a collection agency and you’re speaking with a representative, asking about their workforce is a fair question. Employees at a collection agency should be trained regularly, have a firm understanding of laws and regulations, be able to negotiate with your customers and have the skills to diffuse a situation that gets uncomfortable. In the end, that employee is working on your behalf and representing you. They should be treating your customers as if they were theirs.
When can a get my money?
We have a philosophy here and it’s based off of decades of experience. The sooner you act on a late or non-paying customer, the sooner you’ll get paid. The longer you wait, the more difficult it is to resolve that matter. We are always asked how soon a business might see money coming in. While that varies according to the business and how long those invoices have gone unpaid, acting quicker when someone doesn’t pay you, has proven to be more effective than waiting too long. Developing a regular system for your accounts receivables, follow ups and collections will prove to be beneficial to your cash flow in the long run.
What questions do you have about collection agencies? Let us know.