Collection dispute cycle time

Since time is money, it makes sense to track the time required to resolve collection disputes. The simplest approach is to use the same case tracking system used by the customer support function, and record within it the beginning and end dates for each dispute, as well as the amount in dispute, the cause of the problem, and who is handling its disposition.

When summarized over a large number of disputes, this gives management a good idea of the average time required to settle a dispute, as well as which customers are repeatedly involved with the longest-running disputes, what root problems cause them, and which collections staff have the best (and worst) ability to quickly resolve disputes.

When used properly, an ongoing examination of collection dispute cycle time can result in decisions to eliminate more difficult customers, provide training to those employees who have problems resolving disputes in a timely manner, and to correct the underlying causes of disputed payments.

The measurement can be deliberately skewed by altering the recorded beginning and end dates of dispute cases. To keep this from happening, do not tie reductions in dispute duration to a bonus plan; this ensures more honest record keeping.