Credit control gives the impression that it is a dark art surrounded in mystery. People think it's a hard task to undertake, they feel that the person on the other end of the telephone is going to be rude to them or they could ask questions that they simply don't have the answers to. However; the biggest fear appears to be the fact that; we can become very uncomfortable asking people for money. If a business has provided a product or service they are entitled to receive full recompense for that product or service.
Credit Control doesn't have to become an arduous endeavour, once you have momentum you will become an exceptional at credit control. Below are some suggestions on how to tackle credit control.
- Make sure you are clear of all distractions. This means that you are going to have to concentrate on one task at a time. That task has to be credit control.
- Have a copy of the document/invoice(s) in front of you for reference. You could have the invoice printed as a hard copy or you could view it as a document on the screen. Either way, you will need a copy.
- Ensure you are familiar with the lay of the invoice. You may be asked a number of questions that could range from the invoice number, the quantity of goods purchased, the unit price of the goods, total price of the goods. There could be other questions that can easily be answered with a copy of the invoice in front of you.
- In a calm manner, pick up the telephone and ask to speak to the accounts payable or ask to be put through to the person who deals with accounts queries (especially for a small business).
- Introduce your self and ask for the name of the person you are talking to. Explain in a friendly voice that you are calling on behalf of your employer (or yourself). You need to engage them in friendly conversation and explain that you are chasing payment for an outstanding invoice(s). There is no need to be aggressive or abrupt and will appreciate your calm approach. They may ask you a few questions about the invoice. Be helpful and reply to all the questions asked. The object of the call is to make sure they become receptive to your request of payment of your invoice.
- Ask when can you expect remit of the invoice. They may ask you to resend the invoice. If they do, send a copy via email and put a copy in the post. Then ask them again when can you expect to receive full payment of the invoice. Ascertain any problems with the invoice. What is preventing them paying the invoice as payment is overdue in accordance with your terms and conditions.
- They may inform you that the cheque needs to be signed by their manager or that the invoice still needs to be authorised, in these instances ask thel when can you expect this to happen.
- Thank them for their time.
- Write on the invoice, on your accounts package or on an excel spreadsheet the outcome of your conversation. Write clearly the date that they said you can expect payment. If you have sent a copy invoice, write the day you emailed the copy invoice and sent one in the post.
- Enter a note in your diary to make an additional call to the person to make sure they have received a copy of the invoice. If the payment was expected on a particular date, and has not been received, call again on that date. Tell the person that the payment has not been received and find out if there are any issues
There could be occasions when your client, simply isn't going to pay your invoice. On occasions like this, you are going to have to make the decision if you are going to embark on legal action. This could be via a solicitor or through small claims court. In some circumstances it may advantageous to write the debt off. The amount of the outstanding invoice may dictate the severity of your action.