As the owner of a startup, you know a non-paying customer can have a serious impact on your cash flow. Getting the money owed can be a tricky task, which is where debt collectors could be beneficial to you.But if you have never used a collection agency before, you may not know where to start.
To help you in your search, here are 5 tips for startups looking to work with debt collectors…
1. Exhaust your options first
No business owner wants to get debt collectors involved. In an ideal world, all your customers would pay on time without the need for calls and reminders. Unfortunately, that’s just not realistic. Customers come up with all manner of excuses as to why they can’t pay and, as a startup, you need to break through those. But before you get a third party involved, it’s important you exhaust all of your options. Dealing with the situation on your own could be the most cost-effective method of retrieving your money. Develop a structured escalation process for your business as a way to oil the debt collection process. Of course, no matter how hard you push, some clients will continue to push back, which is when you need the help of a debt collection service.
2. Check their reputation
Your startup’s branding and reputation is one of the most important factors when it comes to determining future success. So, when you’re hiring a debt collection service, think of them as an extension of your company. The way they behave is going to reflect positively or negatively on your business. Do extensive research on the reputation of any debt collector you are thinking of using. If you get the decision wrong, you could end up with an agency that repels customers, damages your brand, and possibly lands you in legal hot water. However, using a trusted third party such as TrueAccord can actually help to increase client retention and improve brand perception. Don’t let a second-rate debt collection agency ruin it with poor service.
3. Understand your client
As an entrepreneur, you will probably understand your client deeply. It’s important that the collection agency you choose understands them too. Many collection services deal with the process in a one-size-fits-all manner. However, you will see more return when you choose a firm that understands how your clients work. TrueAccord uses innovative machine learn to analyze consumer behavior, leading to a fuller understanding of clients’ quirks and preferences. From there, we know the optimal way of communicating with each debtor and which repayment packages they are most likely to accept. That’s why we have anywhere between a 50% to 500% better collection performance than our competition.
4. Know the process
Before you hire a debt collection agency, you should have a good understanding of their processes. You need to know what will be expected of you and what information you need to provide. Typically this will include information on the debtor, so make sure you keep all this information well-organized and easy to find. You should also understand how the company will behave during the collection process. Ensure the agency you are going to work with will be able to provide you with full control and visibility over client interactions. If they are unwilling to show you their client interactions then this should serve as a red flag and you should stay well clear.
5. Review the costs
For any startup, cash flow is going to be integral to success. You should make sure to optimize the debt collection process to increase the amount of money that comes in from your debtors. The key to maximizing your returns is choosing a collection agency that is both successful and cost effective. Speak to any agency you are working with and make sure you understand their charges. Different agencies work with different contracts so it’s important you get to grips with the fees before handing over your business. Lowering your costs and increasing the money coming in is the best way to turn this tricky time into something positive.
Bottom line: Tips for startups looking to work with debt collectors
Hiring a debt collection agency can be a daunting task for a startup business. You are effectively trusting a third party with your reputation during a highly delicate period.
Get the wrong agency and it could end up damaging your business. However, get the right one and your startup could receive the cash it is owed with its reputation as good as ever.