Managing the accounts receivable revenue cycle for your company can be a difficult prospect. During the holiday season though, this responsibility can be particularly challenging because of the range of added responsibilities that are all lumped together during the end of the year. The sense of urgency that comes with trying to close the year on a positive note for your business despite being one of the shortest working months of the entire year can feel overwhelming.
Because many companies expect to have a reduced presence by staff during this time, there can be an overall lack of productivity and general motivation for day to day activities. A similar feeling can often be noticed when it comes to collection efforts, as customers and past due accounts can tend to set aside any balances until after the new years while focusing their full attention on personal responsibilities and other social pressures.
At Southwest Recovery Services, our team of talented professionals is committed to the task of helping our clients achieve their revenue goals regardless of the time of year. Because of the general pressures that many customers, employees, and collection agencies can feel during the holiday season, we decided to spend time sharing a few important tips that can make any holiday season collection efforts less frustrating and more productive.
Focus on Being Proactive
With each passing day, the need for urgency during the holidays can increase. Unlike other months of the year, December is a time when you and your collections team will need to work harder than ever before. Taking action proactively with customers is a great way to increase revenue and settle accounts that could otherwise continue to be a source of concern until after the new year or even further.
A good place to start is by performing a review of all outstanding accounts and then forming an actionable plan to follow up on each account as quickly as possible. Because there is so much activity for everyone during this time of the year, even a small delay can make the difference between a successful outcome and an extended delay. It is important to keep in mind that the longer a debt persists, the less likely it is to be settled.
Another possible approach is to adopt special methods for expedited payments such as delivery by courier or even a pre-paid overnight delivery envelope. These two approaches can be an effective means of allowing customers who are not comfortable with digital payment options to still settle their accounts quickly. The sooner you can identify any accounts that are hesitant to settle outstanding balances, the faster you can work with a collections agency to recover your revenue.
Courtesy can be Effective
The holiday season can be a particularly challenging time for some customers, and it is important to always approach any interactions with patience and kindness. Acknowledging the time of year and even adding seasonal greetings can be a great way to reduce any feelings of hostility during collections efforts.
While the holiday season is a time of festivities, it can also be a frustrating period for some people and being patient, while performing due diligence can protect any strained relationships with customers. Just make sure to follow up after the new year if all else fails.
Talking with customers, and making a variety of payment options available can be an effective way of achieving a positive outcome during collection efforts. Taking the time to figure out an actionable plan to settle any outstanding debts instead of insisting on a specific solution can go a long way towards ensuring that your revenue is returned instead of being lost for the foreseeable future.
Because of the possibilities offered by modern technology, flexible payment options including online platforms, payment plans, or other accommodations can have a large impact on any collection efforts. In almost all cases, customers will want to pay off the debts they owe in any way possible, so making a variety of options available increases the likelihood that their account will be settled sooner rather than later.
Watch Out for Bad Situations
If you learn that your customer’s situation is even worse than expected, then your first priority should be to take action as quickly as possible. While patience and courtesy are effective, there is a point where decisions must be made in the interests of the business that have little to do with personal interactions. Waiting until after the new year to collect on an account that is likely to spiral even further out of control could mean a total lack of return on the lost revenue. Instead, be sure to take action quickly to reduce the risk of being unable to collect later.