The Pros and Cons of Sending Chargebacks to Collections

By on November 27th, 2018 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

Chargebacks are a form of transaction reversal that serves to protect customers and merchants from fraud committed by either party in a transaction. It is common in situations where a cardholder wants a refund on an item previously and wrongfully purchased from a merchant. It also applies in instances where a cardholder was charged for items that they never received or in cases where due to technical hitches, a mistaken charge was imposed on them.

Primarily, a chargeback serves to ensure that the funds of a cardholder are safe no matter what. While it may present a good ground for cardholders to get refunds of their cash, sometimes, it can be abused; in some cases, chargebacks as a result of buyer remorse or other types of abuses reach 40% of chargeback volume. It can spell doom to the merchant when consumers misuse this provision.

Financially, it affects the bottom line of merchants, sometimes up to 1-5% of revenue. When the customer cannot or won’t pay up, or resorts to wrongful chargebacks, it makes their financial situation worse.

Merchants are aware of the imminent risk of a chargeback when a customer is not satisfied with a good or service; thus, they go out of their way to ensure that the best is delivered to the customer, that service is impeccable, and that there are no billing errors.

As a merchant, you are going to deal with many chargebacks in the course of trading. If you are engaging in genuine business, then it comes as an imperative to guard against unnecessary chargebacks. You cannot stop people from filing chargebacks, but you can fight illegitimate chargebacks, the result of buyer remorse or abuse. Determine which issues are raising these chargebacks and address them. Always ask for the direct signature of the cardholder or employ a fraud prevention service if you deal with expensive items. Only allow consumers to ship to their billing addresses. In these ways, you can safeguard against unnecessary chargebacks from dishonest consumers.

Finally, if you are faced with chargebacks and cannot have them insured by a fraud prevention service, or represented back with your bank, sending chargebacks to collection agencies may be a great way to get paid. But what are the pros and cons of doing so?

The Pros

Improved Asset Recovery

Consumers may file a chargeback but keep the product. Sending it to collections may enhance the process of recovering all these assets from such clients, both product and payment. Collection agencies are good at what they do and can handle the task of asset recovery better than you. Their chances of recovering lost funds are better than yours, both because of their broad experience and the fact that they are, at the end of the day, a collection agency. The mere thought of being contacted by a debt collection company often drives consumers to make good on their obligations.

Guards against Chargeback Transaction Fees

When a chargeback is filed, the card company immediately charges some fees relating to processing the chargeback. The fee ranges from $20 to $150 per transaction. Even when a consumer cancels the chargeback, these fees will still have to be paid. When you have a genuine case of buyer fraud, sending the chargeback to collections may help you overturn the tables and recoup the fee in addition to the chargeback, based on the terms of service the consumer agreed to on your website.

It Deters Crafty Consumers

Some consumers are just out there to get freebies. Some can be problematic. Some pay when they want to. Entertaining such can weigh you down as a business. Sending those consumers to collections may deter them from filing illegitimate chargebacks in the future, and send a clear message to future abusers. They will know better than to practice their devious ways on your business. Doing so with the right debt collections partners will get you deterrence while protecting your brand.

Enables You to Focus on Developing your Business

Instead of focusing on your energies fighting off chargebacks or building internal teams to deal with the minutiae of accounts receivables, sending them to collections relieves you the hustle. It allows you to maintain focus on things that are essential to your business. You can focus on giving exceptional customer service to your loyal customers.

The Cons

It’s an Added Cost to Your Business

Using collections is an added cost to your business. Most collection agencies charge fees from recovered funds, with some base fee to start using their service. Fees can be as high as 40% of dollars recovered, from money that you thought was already in your pocket. While this may seem high, consider this: 40% of $0 is still $0. Other than a low monthly fee, you’d be paying out of dolalrs the agency recovers for you. If you hire a full time accounts receivables clerk, that person would be paid monthly no matter what they collect.

May Dampen Customer Relationships

Collection agencies may use not-so-friendly approaches to debt collection. Some consumers may suffer emotionally, and that may mark the end of your relationship with that customer. That is why it’s important to choose the right collections partner. Go for experts that focus on UX, high NPS, and great customer reviews on Google and the BBB. There is a wide selection of collection partners and you shouldn’t settle for one that hurts your brand or doesn’t get your business.

The above consideration highlights just some of the pros and cons associated with sending chargebacks to collections. Do you have more information on the pros and cons of sending chargebacks to collections? Please share with us below.

Debt collection for startups: is that for you?

By on November 20th, 2018 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

What can debt collection for startups do for your business? Founders grapple with this question when faced with chargebacks and unpaid balances. Is debt collection for startups right for me? What can it do to my business? What will it do for my brand? Should I do it myself or outsource?

Is debt collection for startups effective?

Debt collection is a natural part of the customer life cycle, and neglecting it often creates more problems than it prevents. As a machine learning based, digital first provider with high consumer satisfaction scores, we know it’s an effective tool that can be used without the historically negative connotations and with positive brand impact. Debt collection augments your internal A/R efforts, adding a partner who not only has access to tools you don’t have, but also has more negotiation experience and a ton more data – on the right channel, time, tone, and offer to use with individual consumers.

Is debt collection for startups right for you?

Do customers owe you money for a post-paid service or chargebacks? Are you happy with your A/R process, or is it a draining effort that no one in your team likes taking care of? If recovering lost funds is painful, as it is for most, you need help. Debt collection is a cheaper alternative to simply losing the money or keeping an in house collections team, especially if the relationship with the customer has become adversarial.

We think that debt collection has a strong relationship component. When defaulted customers pay through us, they often do so because they feel that they’re being heard for the first time since their dispute with our clients started. Sometimes a customer has a bad customer care experience, a billing error, or a misunderstanding about an invoice, and suddenly they’re 90 days behind. A lot of late customers are just making excuses – but we’ve built the expertise for dealing with them at scale.

Buy or build?

You should talk to your customers before sending them to us. A structured process is key to not only getting paid yourself as well as our success for you down the road. It always helps to start the process in house (don’t forget to teach them how to handle excuses). After the first 15-30 days past due you can ship them over and let us take care of them. A good debt collector will recover money; a great collector will recover money, plus some of your old customers, and help you grow your business.

Interested in trying us out? Sign up here!

Debt Collection for Chargebacks and eCommerce

By on November 15th, 2018 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

 

Chargebacks are frustrating. Debt collection for chargebacks can help.

Chargebacks are a part of doing business, but they’re also incredibly frustrating. It’s a slow, disjointed process that can hit 1-2% of your GMV. Chargebacks create multiple issues.

  • Chargebacks take time to get to you. A consumer can take months to charge back and while the majority of chargebacks come in in the first 30-60 days, not all of them do. You may lost revenue you thought you had several months after you book it.
  • Chargeback dispute is manual, slow, and often ineffective. Chargeback often arrive by snail mail with very little time to respond, and evidence collection and submission is tedious.
  • Many chargebacks are caused by buyer’s remorse and abuse of credit association rules. As high as 30% of eCommerce chargebacks may be the result of remorse, spouses using the other’s card without their knowledge, or just friendly fraud.

Many businesses start their own payment operations teams, focusing on detection and prevention. There’s a lot you can do in detecting fraudulent and abusive behavior in advance. When you don’t, and representation doesn’t work, debt collection for chargebacks is a tool you must consider.

Can debt collection for chargebacks really help?

Debt collection for chargebacks is an effective complimentary process, working hand in hand with representation to increase your recovery rate. The customer is liable for paying you based on your terms of service, even if you can’t charge their card.  Debt collection, especially with a digital-first solution, will improve your chances to recover and reduce your risk of alienating your customers. Clearing out the reason for their chargeback might help you win them back as customers.

You must approach these customers with the right mind set. TrueAccord is exceptionally good at handling disputes, not only blindly go after the money. By listening to your customer, we are able to discern with greater accuracy whether the chargeback was a result of fraud or something else. We lead the customer into paying back what they owe, telling us their story and giving you feedback, and getting them back to paying status. It’s a win all around.

Interested in trying us out? Sign up here!

The basics of debt collection for startups: talking with customers

By on November 13th, 2018 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

Startups live and die by customer acquisition and growth, and that is where they spend most of their time and effort. However as many startups find out, retention is key to continued growth. Active current customers spend more, and are more likely to use other services your offer as well as refer others to your service. As part of our debt collection for startups service we meet many consumers who’ve churned and left an unpaid bill. We’ve learned that customers who churn sometimes provide businesses with the most important feedback.

Why do customers churn? The vast majority don’t do so with malicious intent, even if they leave an unpaid balance behind. Most of these situations involve a service or product dispute. A disappointed customer feels that paying is unfair, even if they agreed to a charge in advance. Some have real cash flow or billing issues. What do you gain from talking to these customers, or from using a service to engage with them?

  1. They have the most pointed feedback for issues with your product or service. Deciding not to pay is a strong decision often driven by an exceptionally bad experience. This is the equivalent of a bug bounty program – finding what went wrong while recovering money. Debt collection for startups should be focus on soliciting that feedback, not only getting you paid. Listen to the content rather than the style, and you’ll discover a plethora of relevant product and process feedback.
  2. They care enough to make it noticed. Not paying is a strong signal, and you want to unpack what happened. The same issue this customer identified may impact thousands more who, instead of not paying, just churn – or hurt your referrals. You need to talk to them to find out what’s going on.
  3. They often owe you money. There is revenue to be recovered by reconciling with churned customers, both money they owe and future income. While TrueAccord offers debt collection for startups, our NPS is 60 – mostly because we offer a positive experience in a negative situation. Engaging with these customers or using a partner to do so can turn their perception by 180 and change your relationship trajectory.
Approaching and reconciling with churned customers is an art and science. Follow our blog to learn more about how we do it!

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How to send less consumers to collections as a small business

By on November 9th, 2018 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

Getting paid is a difficult job, and one that small businesses often struggle with. Customers will surprise you with excuses and disputes that can severely influence your cash flow. In this post we’ll discuss ways to engage with your customers early so you won’t have to send them to small business collections.

Prepare to Receive Less Than 100% of What You Are Owed

Some customers won’t pay, no matter what you do. They may disagree they need to pay at all, irresponsible, or genuinely had a life event that impact their ability to pay. You’ll eventually need to use a trusted third party like TrueAccord to get these ones to pay. Accepting this saves you time and heartache – there’s a limit to the number of calls and reminders you should offer late payers and a limit to the time you or your team should spend on them. Still, there are ways to get closer to 100% even before using a small business collection service.

Reducing the Rate of Late Payers

Preventing late payments requires a structured process to keep them aware of their obligation, deal with expected excuses, and following up until you get paid. Specifically, pay attention to the following:

Be planned with giving out credit. Negotiate payment terms in advance, write them down, and limit how much risk you take in every transaction. Adopt pre-paid models whenever possible, and require a payment instrument before you let customers use your product. Beware of new customers, those without a long established history, that run up a balance on their first days or weeks. If you run an eCommerce business or a marketplace, frequent and aggressive purchasing sprees from new customers are a major red flag and should be stopped and examined by your risk team.

Be prompt in issuing your invoice or charging a payment instrument post completion of a job or with following up on late payments. Have a process for following up on chargebacks, outstanding balances, or invoices early and often, even if you end up sending some balances to a small business collections partner. Even if you don’t get paid on time, keeping on top of customers increases awareness and prepares them to negotiate payment terms when they’re able to.

Be frictionless in your methods of payment. Keep a payment instrument on file even if your model is post payment, and verify it with a $0 authorization or random charges. The more payment options you have, especially the more backup payment options, the better your chances of getting paid. PayPal was able to recover more than 95% of failed ACH payments thanks to using cards as backup payment instruments.

Be polite in your communication with your customer. They might not pay you today, but end up being a valuable long term customer if you just work with them through their current situation. Your goal with your receivable management process isn’t only to prevent late paying customers, it’s also to retain relationships with the most valuable ones. Don’t let a temporary situation ruin a beneficial long term relationship.

Be ready to escalate. You may invest a lot of effort in order to prevent late paying customers, but you are not an A/R expert and are not planning to become one; your team isn’t either. Using a third party takes emotion out of the equation, allows customers with service disputes to express themselves, and creates an opportunity to negotiate. Having a small business collections partner as a last resort also increases your chances of recovery just by informing customers that it’s an option. We don’t like it, and we’re always focused on great UX, but the negative perception “debt collection” evokes can work in your favor.

Bottom Line

It’s not easy to prevent late paying customers, but following a process, a few best practices, and using a strong small business collections partner can get you paid much sooner than you usually do. Think through your on-boarding, billing, and follow up process to significantly reduce the number of people who end up not paying – and talk to us when you’re ready to hand them off.

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The Importance of Smoke Tests

By on October 23rd, 2018 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

In this short talk, our CEO Ohad Samet and our Senior Manager of implementations, Robert Rodriguez, discuss the concept of a smoke test in high stakes integrations in collections and how they can help reduce errors and create early success.

Diversity & Inclusion at TrueAccord

By on October 16th, 2018 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

How come every company hires the best people they can find, but some end up with a homogenous culture while others are diverse? It’s about how you seed and grow your culture.

Hear our Diversity, HR and Recruiting leaders talk about diversity, representation, and hiring diverse talent from day one.

Conversations With Customers

By on September 18th, 2018 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

Laura Beckerley discusses easy and difficult conversations with customers, and provides tips and ideas and how to diffuse difficult situations. Hear about her experience, how we engage, and what makes TrueAccord different – a customer facing brand through and through.

Creating Effective Quality Controls

By on September 11th, 2018 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

Working with major financial institutions has its upsides, but it also means a tight and very demanding quality framework. Our lead trainer, Quan Ngo, talks about tips and tricks for effective quality control in an ever changing environment.

Using Design to Empower Customers

By on September 4th, 2018 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

UX and design are important tools in TrueAccord’s tool box. Hear from our Product Design Manager, Shannon Brown, about how we design our product to empower customers and encourage positive actions.