Few things are shared by every organization, of every size, across every industry… but one of those universal pain points is dealing with accounts receivable collections. 93% of businesses report late payments from customers. In a best-case scenario, your team spends time and resources chasing down late payments. A worst-case scenario? Missed revenue, unfulfilled donations, and even lost customers.

As Salesforce payments experts, we’ve learned some key mistakes to avoid when attempting to collect unpaid invoices and debts. However, most of these missteps can be avoided with a thoughtful Automated Collections process.

Mistake #1: Striking the wrong tone

You open up your email to find one of the messages below. Which one of these sounds better, and would persuade you to take action?

Email #1:

Your card was declined for non-sufficient funds. Click here to pay now.

Or, Email #2:

Hi there, it seems that we had an issue collecting your most recent payment.

Please follow this link to take care of the $100 payment.

We all know what each of them means, but the second email is much friendlier.

When sending collections emails, we always advocate opening with a kind, inviting tone. Keep in mind that sometimes in order to get paid, you need to start a conversation with your customer, and it pays (literally) to make them feel comfortable discussing their situation and acting as a partner, not an adversary.

There are times when it might be appropriate to escalate (still politely). For example, if someone’s power is about to be shut off, it’s critical to state that clearly so they can take immediate action.

In short: be nice, get them talking, and get paid faster!

Mistake #2: Too Many Communications

We’re all inundated with emails, texts, calls, and other notifications. Make your communications count by timing them appropriately.

If your customers feel like they are being harassed, your emails are headed straight for the spam folder – and you won’t get paid. Remember that more is not always more.

Mistake #3: Keep It Simple

You offer your customers plenty of options, and that’s great… usually.

When asking to get paid, keep it simple and don’t overcomplicate what you’re asking them to do. You need to inform them of the amount owed, and direct them where to go to pay. That’s it. Making sure that message stays front and center makes it more likely that you will get paid.

Big Mistake #4: Waiting too Long to Act

If you are waiting multiple days to start the late payments conversation with your customer, you are waiting too long.

For many situations, best practice is retrying a credit card payment within a few days. Your first collections email should go out either immediately after the first decline of a recurring transaction, or after the payment is declined a second time.

The sooner you initiate the collections process, the sooner you will get paid.

Big Mistake #5: Manual Processes

If your accounts receivable team is spending a lot of time on highly repetitive collections tasks, chances are that their work is not very fulfilling. You run the risk of high turnover, as teammates burn out and leave, making lots of mistakes on their way out.

By automating your collections process, you enable your team to spend their time engaging with your most challenging customers, and ultimately, collecting more late payments for your company – while your automated processes do the rest.

The Bottom Line

Chargent makes it easier for your business to collect payments with Salesforce. Our Automated Collections add-on lets you automate manual accounts receivable processes, with robust reporting tools like Automated Collections Dashboard, that help you identify the insights that help you get collections right.

Want to learn more? Find out how to put Automated Collections to work for your accounts receivable process or contact us to get started.