When it comes to collecting payments from difficult customers, a debt collection agency can be a huge help. But choosing the right one to support your business and get the desired results can be challenging.
To improve your chances of finding the ideal debt recovery partner consider the following:
1. Do they understand my industry?
Every industry is different from the next, with varying challenges and intricacies when it comes to contracts and invoicing. Knowing these variations can make a massive difference when it comes to successfully collecting money. A debt collection agency that knows your industry and its challenges can bring knowledge and results to rival a typical generalist. Likewise, those with experience of navigating the tricky payment processes of large companies will be able to use this expertise to bring you the desired results.
2. How long have they been operating?
Whilst trading time is not directly correlated to success it can be a good indicator of how successful they are and how much experience they have of collecting payments from difficult customers. Don’t just take their word for it though. Take a look at their testimonials, success stories and social media profiles to gauge what others thought about their services. Try not to concentrate too much on size. A large, national firm is not necessarily a better fit than a small, local one. It depends on your needs, the agency’s strengths, its reputation and its track record.
3. What accreditations do they have?
It is wise to check for associations and affiliations with the leading industrial bodies, for example the Credit Services Association, and see if they are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. These accreditations mean that they are subject to codes of conduct and disciplinary procedures that will ensure they operate to the highest standards. Also check to see if they have won any awards. This could be a sign that they are performing well in the industry.
4. What are their fees?
Different debt collection agencies charge different fees for their services. Some will require an upfront payment, whilst others will charge a success-based fee. The important thing here is transparency. You’ll want to know exactly what the fee is and how it is paid – particularly should your case need to be escalated to the legal process – so that there are no surprises down the line.
5. What collection methods do they use?
Different debt collection agencies favour different methods of recovery. Some will opt for mediation over court proceedings, using their knowledge and reputation to bring positive conclusions to often complex cases pre-legally whilst preserving customer relationships. Others will use a more aggressive approach to collect the payment. It’s important to find a company that will listen to your requirements and provide a service that you are happy with.
6. How can I track your progress?
Does the debt collection agency offer a portal or dashboard service where you will be able to log in and track their progress? Will you have a dedicated point of contact who can assist with your enquiries? These are important aspects of the service that will give you the transparency required to ensure that the business is operating in the way that you would expect.
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