Collecting unpaid debt is a tricky process that requires strategy, tact, and consistency. Add a pandemic on top of everything, and the debt collection situation can become increasingly more tricky. If your business is considering increasing or starting debt collection practices at this time, we’ve gathered 3 simple COVID debt collection tips to keep in mind.
Simplify the payment process
The country as a whole is one giant stress ball right now, and in certain parts of the country, we have cities, counties, and entire states that are shut down completely. Ultimately, this boils down to worried individuals who may or may not have much money to pay off debt right now. The last thing you need to add to their pile of overdue bills is a complicated payment process. If your payment process is too convoluted, you can almost guarantee that your invoice will sit in their overdue pile permanently.
Do what you can to simplify the payment process and minimize points of contact. For example, don’t send them a link to pay online, but then require them to call your office to get login credentials. Give them everything they need to make an immediate payment.
At the same time, make sure they have multiple methods of payment available. Allow them to mail in a check, give them the option to pay over the phone, and of course, make sure they can pay online.
If you don’t currently have a web portal available, it might be time to invest in one. The debt problem will likely only get worse over the coming months.
Don’t wait until later
You may think that waiting to collect any debt is the “right thing to do” given the current circumstances. However, do you think other companies are waiting until COVID subsides to collect debt? Most likely not. In fact, the more proactive you are now, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to collect on some of your unpaid accounts. If you decide to wait, you might be attempting to collect debt when people have already handed over any extra cash they might have to other collectors.
Even if you think collecting debt right now is a longshot, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be proactive and start sending out invoices. Give your debtors the opportunity to be aware of their debt and to plan for future payments. Don’t surprise them later down the road with a big bill they weren’t expecting.
Be consistent and stay automated
Collecting unpaid debt is almost never a one-time thing. Even during normal times, collecting a debt takes two to three touches (at the very least). Throw in a pandemic and it’s pretty much guaranteed that it’ll take a few more attempts than that. Long story short, don’t give up. Keep at it, remain friendly, and consider investing in a platform or partner that can automate this process for you.
If you think it’s time to partner with a debt collection agency, check out this article for more insight: 3 Simple Ways To Determine If Your SMB Needs A Debt Collection Agency
Need helping collecting debt during COVID?
At HP Sears, we have over 8 decades of experiencing helping other businesses collect B2B debt, as well as consumer debt. We have hands-on experience dealing with a variety of debtor situations and in a variety of industries.
If you’d like to learn more about our debt collection practices, give us a call or fill out our online form. We’d love to chat.