The primary tool of the collector is the collection call. However, before making a call, consider a number of preparatory steps that will make the call more efficient. Otherwise, the collector may find that the customer simply requests information that is not immediately at hand, which will require another call after the collector has found the information.Accordingly, consider collecting the following information in advance:
- Billing packet. The customer’s authorizing purchase order, the resulting sales order (if any), any related shipping document(s), and the issued invoice.
- Notes. The complete set of notes from any prior conversations with the customer.
- Proof of delivery. A confirmation of receipt from the delivery company, preferably including the name of the person who signed for the delivered goods.
- Statement of completion. If the sale involved the provision of services, locate the customer approval document, including the name of the person who signed it.
In addition, have on hand a list of other contacts at the customer. If the primary contact is not answering his or her phone, consider immediately escalating to the next person on the list.
The amount of paperwork required to prepare for a collection call may appear considerable. To reduce the work load, consider using administrative staff to collect the paperwork, or use computerized collection software to automatically assemble much of this information from other databases around the company.