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What To Say When Making an AR Collection Call?

30 March, 2022
5 min read
Rachelle Fisher, AVP, Digital Transformation
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What you'll learn

  • Learn the importance and impact of making a successful collection call.
  • Know the best practices for nailing a collection call.
  • Explore effective accounts receivable collection call scripts.
CONTENT
What to do when making a collection call?
Step-by-step guide while making a collection call
A guide to tackling the customer’s excuses professionally
Most effective debt collection call scripts
To sum it up
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Feature image of collection calls

Waking up to a job that requires calling up customers and enquiring about payments is not something very fancy. A collector’s job is challenging, especially when you need to chase erratic customers for past dues. And, customers can be extremely difficult sometimes; it is not unusual for them to give excuses during a collection call. So, speaking the right things at the right time could make or break your payment collection attempt.

This blog explains the importance of making a collection call and how the conversation’s tone, timing, and framing can help you nail it. We also provide you with numerous accounts receivable collection call scripts that you can use to handle your next collection call successfully.

What to do when making a collection call?

A header image for tone tips when handling a collection call

A positive customer experience is crucial for a company’s reputation. As a collector, you need to be empathetic towards your customers, understand their concerns, and yet be in control of the call. Although it may seem simple to pick up the phone and call your customers for payments, accounts receivable collection calls require a great deal of strategy, tact, and confidence. Below are some tips to help you ace the next collection call:

Tip 1: Stay confident – Start the call with a greeting that expresses you are happy, polite, and confident.

Tip 2: Add a human touch – Address the customer with their name, but overdoing it might sound rude.

Tip 3: Listen carefully – Listening is the key to a successful and effective call. Allow the customers to explain their side of the story.

Tip 4: Take control of the call – Take up every opportunity to keep the conversation on track.

Tip 5: Be concise – Customers typically appreciate clear and concise calls. A nice-paced call will help you serve more customers and clearly convey the goal.

Collection calls require patience and the right attitude. Your business might get seriously affected if the customer feels dissatisfied during the call. In such cases, one must take control of the situation and convince the customer to commit to payments.

Step-by-step guide while making a collection call

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Step 1:Prepare

You should always be prepared with all the facts and supporting documents such as:

  • Invoices
  • Previous conversation notes (if any)
  • Delivery receipts
  • Customer account status
  • Customer’s contact number

Step 2: Call your customer

Set a clear agenda before calling the customer. You need to determine the status of the receivables and make sure to convey your name, the company you represent, and the invoice details. Also, ensure the correct invoice is delivered as delinquent customers sometimes claim they did not receive the invoice or have issues regarding the same.

Discuss the problems and let them know how their issues would be addressed. If the payment is due, insist that they complete the payment over the call or ask them for a payment commitment. Schedule the next call accordingly. If the call goes to voicemail, make sure not to mention it as a collection call and ask them to call you once they hear the voicemail.

Step 3: Take notes

Taking notes is an excellent way to keep a record of the conversation and get familiar with the customer. This technique allows you to summarize items from the meeting quickly. Taking notes on paper and putting them in a file later is one option, or an automation solution can quickly take notes and prioritize them accordingly.

Step 4: Follow up with an email

The primary responsibility of a collector is to stay in touch with the customers and ensure that the buyers pay the total amount on time. If the customer has promised to pay after the collection call, send a follow-up email recapping the discussion. It’s the best way to keep in touch after a collection call.

A guide to tackling the customer’s excuses professionally

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Before making your next collection call, be prepared to handle excuses from customers about the delayed payments. Delinquent customers often try to end the call by making an excuse. Are you wondering how to tackle those situations? Don’t worry. We have got you covered. Here is a list of common excuses by customers and ways to deal with them professionally.

Excuse 1

Customer: Hey, sorry I got busy and forgot to pay.

You: No worries. It can happen to any of us. So, now that I have you on the phone, are you in the position to make the payment?

Excuse 2

Customer: I have not received the invoice from you.

You: My apologies! However, could you please confirm if abc@email.com is your email address?

Customer: Yes, it is.

You: Thank you for confirming. I have sent the email with the invoice attached. Will you be making the payment today?

Excuse 3

Customer: We are having cash flow problems right now.

You: Yes, I understand how difficult that is. Do you want me to set a payment plan, or do you want to make a partial payment today?

Excuse 4

Customer: I do not have access to my card right now. I will do it in the evening.

You: Great, I am noting that in our system. Please make sure you complete the payment today and do reach out to me in case of any concerns. Thank you for your time.

Most effective debt collection call scripts

A graphic representing the header image of accounts receivable collection call scripts

When speaking from a script, it is essential to stay flexible and be ready to deal with unexpected scenarios. Below are some accounts receivable collection call scripts that you could tailor to meet specific needs. These scripts would help you figure out what to say when making a collection call.

Script 1: “Forgot to pay”

You: Good morning. Am I speaking with Mr. Dwight?

Dwight: Yes, Dwight speaking.

You: I am Jim, a collection analyst with Dunder Mifflin. I am calling you regarding your payment of [amount] for invoice [invoice number], which seems to be [number of days] past due. Can you help me understand why the invoice has not been paid?

Dwight: I am currently on vacation, so I forgot to pay.

You: Oh, I understand. In that case, I am sure you must have seen a link to  our payment portal on your invoice.

Dwight: Yes, I have.

You: Great, you can easily pay through a credit card or ACH as you please.

So, will you be making the payment today?

[If the customer says that he will pay today]

You: That’s great, taking note of this in our system. Thank you for your time,

Happy holidays!

Or

[If the customer says that he will pay later due to any reason]

You: Well, in that case, what we can do now is to get into a  payment agreement. Is it possible for you to at least make a partial payment today? You are already past your due date. So, I suggest you make a partial payment today, and for the rest of the amount, we can schedule a time according to your convenience.

Dwight: Sounds good.

You: Okay then, please make the payment by evening, and for the next installment, I will call you Tuesday afternoon to follow up. Glad we talked.

Script 2: “Did not receive the invoice”

You: Good afternoon. My name is Jim, and I am a collection analyst with Dunder Mifflin. Am I speaking with Mr. Dwight?

Dwight: Yes, Dwight here.

You: I am calling with regards to an overdue bill of [amount] for invoice [invoice number].

Dwight: I did not receive any invoice for my order.

You: Oh! I am sorry to hear this. However, could you please confirm if  abc@email.in is your email address?

Dwight: Yes, it is.

You: I am sending the email with the invoice attached as we speak. The invoice is delivered now. Can you please check and confirm?

Dwight: Yes, I received it just now.

You: Great, so now that you have the invoice, will you be making the payment today?

Dwight: No, I will have to check the invoice first, so maybe by the end of this week.

You: Okay, I understand, making a note of this in our system. I will call you back for a follow-up. In case of any queries, please feel free to reach out. Thank you for your time.

Script 3: “Facing cash flow problems”

You: Hello, this is Jim, collection analyst with Dunder Mifflin. To whom am I speaking?

Dwight: This is Dwight speaking.

You: I am calling you regarding your payment of [amount] which is due for invoice [invoice number]. Could you perhaps explain why the payment was not made?

Dwight: We are currently facing some cash flow problems, so I don’t have the money right now that I can spare for the open invoices.

You: I’m sorry to hear that. Times are tough right now. How’s the business going?

Dwight: [Explains their current situation and shares his problems]

You: Understood. Thank you for sharing with me. As I said earlier, times are tough right now, and we would not want our valued customers to be in this situation. I have a solution that might help both of us.

Dwight: Please explain.

You: We can come to a mutual payment arrangement where you can make a partial payment now and the rest later. Does that sound good to you?

Dwight: Yes. I mean, it does.

You: Great, thank you for making that commitment. Glad that we could sort it out. So, with that in mind, will you be able to make the payment today?

Dwight: Yes, undoubtedly!

You: Okay, please feel free to reach out to me in case of any queries. Have a great day.

Script 4: “Invoice is incorrect”

You: Good Morning. My name is Jim, and I am a collection analyst with Dunder Mifflin. Can I speak to Mr. Dwight, please?

Dwight: Yes, Dwight speaking.

You: This call is regarding an outstanding debt of [amount] for the invoice [invoice number] which is past due for [number of days].

Can you help me understand why the invoice has not been paid?

Dwight: Actually, I have not paid the invoice because some corrections are needed from your side.

You: I am sorry to hear that. Could you please walk me through the issues that need to be resolved?

Dwight: [Explains the issue, which is a legitimate request]

You: I appreciate your help in bringing this issue to our attention, the fault seems to be on our part, and I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. However, I am rectifying the errors as we speak, and I have also updated the team regarding this issue. I have sent you a new invoice with all the correct information. Can you please check and confirm?

Dwight: Yes, I just received the mail.

You: So, now that your issue is resolved, will you be making the payment soon?

Dwight: Yes.

You: Thank you for your cooperation. Have a nice day ahead.

Or

Dwight: [Explains the issue, but there is a misunderstanding]

You: I appreciate your help in bringing this issue to our attention. However, I think there’s a misunderstanding.

[Explain the part which was not clear to them]

I hope I was able to clear your doubt regarding the issue.

Dwight: Yes, you did.

You: Great. Will you be making the payment now that your issue is solved?

Dwight: Yes, sure.

You: Glad to hear that. Thank you.

To sum it up

Calling customers to settle outstanding debts is at the core of effective collection practices. This blog tried to cover every aspect of ‘What to say on a collection call?’. However, each customer is unique, so you need to pay attention to deduce the right course of action while interacting with them. By incorporating automated correspondence, collectors could utilize their time more effectively and perform other vital operations.

RadiusOne AR Suite is a one-stop shop for all AR automation needs of mid-sized businesses. Learn how to ensure agile collections in less time with our eInvoicing & Collections App.

Enable In-App Calling and Auto-Log Call Recordings to Fast-Track Collections

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