The Broken Promise: The Next Step in Collecting on a Delinquent Account
Written by Lee VandenHeuvel
Note: this is the third blog in a series that provides insider tips on commercial and b2b debt collection. Read part 1, How to Collect Debt from a Delinquent Commercial Account, here; read part 2, Making the Call: The First Step to Collecting on a Delinquent Account, here.
Now that you've had the conversation with your debtor, your work really begins. All debtors break promises, and the way to keep that to a minimum is to have excellent follow-up. FOLLOW-UP is what really separates a professional debt collection company from a credit grantor. If an individual promises payment to our firm on a Friday, we send reminders a week PRIOR to the due date.
If the payment does not arrive on that date, the debtor is called. The debtor soon learns that he has absolutely no leeway with us and finds that it is in his/her best interest to pay the creditor who is stalking him like a second shadow. By keeping good notes and a close follow-up system, you can knock your broken promises in half with no additional effort on your part.
Follow-up starts with the closing of the call and a short note to the debtor indicating what you are expecting from him and when. The object of all this is to tighten the lid down on the box that you have put him in and not to let him out until payment is forthcoming.
When you contact the debtor about a broken promise, look on it not as a promise made to your company, but rather a promise made to you directly and personally. Use phrases like “You promised ME that payment would be made on last Friday. I have not received the check. It is important to ME that we get this matter resolved today."
The debtor must be educated as to your policies and must understand that you will not accept broken promises and that you expect to be paid in a timely fashion.
Lee VandenHeuvel is President/CEO of Ross, Stuart & Dawson, Inc., a commercial collection agency certified by the Commercial League of America. Lee has been helping creditors for 30 years to review and improve their credit/collection processes and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences.