Hi Everyone!

It’s Hector and I’m always pleased to receive your emails inquiring about collection ideas and issues. 

Over the past few months, I’ve been hearing from some of you regarding the use of automated pre-recorded collection voice messages to past due customers, asking for my thoughts on their effectiveness. 

Simply speaking, a pre-recorded voice message is a recorded message that would automatically kick in when the other party either answers the call or the call goes to their voice mail. With all the telecommunication technology available (which we have experienced ourselves with robocalls), the pre-recorded collection call would state the caller’s name, title, company, the amount past due, and a request for payment through various ways. Would it be effective, or even appropriate, to contact your customers and leave this kind of pre-recorded message?

To answer this question, we need to think about the nature of one’s business. First, is the product a highly customized item that is costly to make, or does it easily come off the assembly in huge quantities? There is a relationship between the cost of a product and its customization. The more customized the product, the more costly it becomes, and this in turn usually means that it requires more personalized attention. 

Let’s say that you are a manufacturer of paper clips and other light products and that your customers consist of the smaller retail stationery stores and outlets. Generally speaking, paper clips are not considered to be a highly customized type of product.  

Let’s also say that you are selling your paper clips in minimum orders of $25 to over one thousand small retail stationery stores nationwide and 200 of them are past due. Would it make sense to leave a recorded voice message? Personally, I can see the value of using technology to call these 200 past due customers. If you had to use a collector who might spend a few days trying to call this group, that cost would certainly eat away at your gross profit, which is probably quite small to begin with. 

One of the other most important factors in using a pre-recorded message is the quality and tone of the recording. Does it sound like a robocall or does it convey a little warmth, personalization, and professionalism. If the call sounds too much like an automated robocall, the other party may just hang up even before listening to the full message. If it sounds like a natural voice that is easy to listen to, the chances of it being heard in its entirety and moving the customer to pay are much greater. 

So in essence, my thought is that the use of automating the collection process for a large number of small value accounts can be a viable and effective collection tool for certain companies, especially when the recording is well done. 


Hector the Collector is a credit, collection, and human resources advice column by Nancy Seiverd President CMI Credit Mediators Inc. Your thoughts and comments (nseiverd@cmiweb.com) are most welcome!

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