Developing a Consistent Collections Department
1. Remove the Barriers- In order for a companies collection department to run smoothly we need to remove any barriers to performance. Does your software actually support recovery or does it hold back your collectors by creating problems? Legacy systems can be a big problem when jumping back and forth between 3 or 4 different systems that don't talk. There are tons of distractions without adding other challenges. If you ask, and seem open minded your people will tell you what is wrong in your department, and many times will offer solutions. Good management requires good listening and the ability to sort through feedback and decide what really matters.
2. Do the Research First- In boom times we can take blind risks when opportunities arise, but in difficult financial times we have to be more calculated. Using all the resources available to make good decisions only makes sense when times are tough and you have time to do the research. Use credit reports, credit applications, and careful questioning with your new customer to get a good feel as to who they are and what the business goals are.
3. Monitoring- not only is it important to research, and draw conclusions on your clients but also to monitor activity. Has there been multiple changes in buyers over the last year? Are sales for this client slipping and payments coming in slower? How does this years activity compare to the historical relationship? Look for press releases or local news on the happenings of the corporation, an announcement of any kind should show up on google.
4. Rewarding- Obviously working in collections is tough, it's important to reward those that are in the trenches everyday. Rewarding your staff doesn't always have to cost you money, sometimes offering an extended lunch for a pot luck can be just as effective. Even organizing a happy hour, or a picnic can be a low cost reward with a high morale effect. The most important thing to do is try, and reward for strong performance.