04.25.2022 | Posted by Erik
Why Customer Service Is Crucial in A/R Management
You have to make customer service a priority if you want to collect—take it from a successful accounts receivable outsourcing firm.
There’s a misconception that collections is all about banging down doors and intimidating people to pay up, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that the majority of the work that goes into collections is simply getting people the information they need.
This involves taking a customer service approach and using proven customer support tactics to improve your results.
Why Is Using a Customer Service Approach Important?
As an accounts receivable outsourcing firm, we know for a fact that being too aggressive is the surest way to run your customers off and never get paid. It’s much easier to solicit a response if you’re kind and courteous than if you’re rude and abrasive. But don’t just take our word for it.
Back in 2013, a debt collection company got worldwide news coverage when they started offering help to the people from whom they were trying to collect. They helped them secure government assistance, fix their leaky roof, or apply for food stamps, in addition to trying to collect their debt. Their theory was that collections would get better results when they worked with people and not against them.
This approach led to the company collecting 200% more on average than traditional debt collectors. However, you don’t have to offer your customers free services to see the same results.
The reality is that a little can go a long way. If you use a customer service approach, people are much less likely to blow you off. Plus, in addition to getting paid, being courteous opens up new networking possibilities, expands your business, and can even help you get more referrals.
3 Quick Steps for Using a Customer Service Approach in Accounts Receivable Outsourcing
1. Start by building a relationship. Take time to build a relationship with your AP counterpart. Get to know them a bit. There will be times when you might have multiple invoices out with a company and having a relationship with someone on the inside makes it so much easier to problem-solve issues. Take time to reach out regularly, even just to check in, so that they’re more likely to work with you when it comes time to collect.
2. Wait a few days. We always give our clients a window of 7-10 days before starting collections efforts. Often, things can fall behind or slip through the cracks, especially in business. Give your customers some understanding with a small grace period.
3. Ask some questions. After the grace period has lapsed, reach out and ask something like, “Can you let me know when this will be paid?” Most of the time, this elicits a response like, “Can you resend the invoice?” or “We’re missing the reference number on the invoice.” Rather than assuming they have ill intentions, approach them with an unassuming question to open up a dialogue.
Generally, following these three steps makes it easy to solve issues quickly and get you paid on time. If you uncover any problems in the third step, be sure and resolve them. Then, simply ask, “Now that we’ve solved your issue, when should I expect the payment?”
Work With an A/R Outsourcing Firm That Prioritizes Company Care
It makes all the difference to approach collections with the goal of uncovering what’s causing your customers to be past due. More often than not, there’s a simple solution to help remedy the problem. Taking a customer service approach is the first step toward learning how you can help.
If you’d like help collecting your past due accounts from an accounts receivable outsourcing firm that prioritizes customer care, we’d love to work with you.