When phoning an INDIVIDUAL – for the very first time
Apply the “Assumption of Innocence”. Don’t actually ask why the account hasn’t been paid at all. Assume it’s on the way, or, at the very least, that it’s been sent!
Gwen Iveer – Good Morning. May I speak to Fred Jones please?
Mr Jones – Yes … This is Fred Jones.
Gwen Iveer – Hi Fred. It’s Gwen from Camelots. I’m doing the accounts and it looks like we haven’t received payment for last month’s fee yet. Has it been sent? Or is it already on the way?
At this point PAUSE … and Fred’s reaction to your call will tell you more about his intentions about the account than whatever words he may use.
When phoning a BUSINESS – for the very first time
Ask for the Accounts Payable person. Most times, they really couldn’t care less whether your fees have been paid or not. So, imitate their attitude in your approach. As if you couldn’t really care either!! These people probably get many calls every day asking for payments. If you’re ‘heavy’ with them, they’re in the position to really slow your payment down if you get them offside. So, you need these people to be onside. Note: This is an Information Gathering call, not a Debt Collecting call.
Gwen Iveer – Good Morning. May I speak to someone in Accounts Payable please?
Felicity Higginbottom – (their Accounts Payable person) – Hello. How can I help?
Gwen Iveer – Hi. Gwen Iveer from Camelots. I’m following up payment of a May invoice. Has it been sent already? Or is it your system for processing?
Felicity Higginbottom – Yes. I have it here.
(and ….. if Felicity doesn’t go on to tell you when she’ll be sending the payment off)
Gwen Iveer – Great. And when do you expect your system will be releasing it?
Again, you’re using the “don’t care” attitude. Neither of the above phrases could in any way be called confrontational. You’re assuming payment’s on the way, not that they are deliberating avoiding payment. Means you’re a good guy!
Another ‘tactic’ is to blame someone else.