Uncollectable Invoices? Use Social Networks To Collect The Money Your Small Business Is Owed - Project Management for Small Business from Denise O'Berry

Uncollectable Invoices? Use Social Networks To Collect The Money Your Small Business Is Owed

Social networking websites are a venue for people to share personal or business information with other people through a web site that is specifically designed to make it easy to share text, pictures, documents, music, videos and other data and comments.

There are thousands of social networking sites out there today and some focus on particular industries, interests, subject or topic.

Members can join for free and create a profile and add anything they would like as well as connect with other like minded people who are also members.

They’ve become so popular, some collectors use social networks to find debtors or past due customers.

Using social networks to locate customers has become a popular debt collector technique.Click To Tweet

Many of them have public profile pages on social sites and a collector can find a mailing address, phone number, cell phone number, place of employment and other contact information by searching those sites.

As a creditor, text messages and emails seem to be the preferred and most effective way to increase collections.

One company I know has experienced a 12 percent lift in communication by using text messages and email.

It seems that email or a text message as an avenue of communication is perceived as less evasive than a phone call, and your customer has the sense of being in control of when and if they respond.

Get Consent From Customers Before The Sale

Some collectors I have spoken with obtain consent from their customers before the sale for text messages to be used for future correspondence.

They include this wording on the paperwork the customer signs when opening an account, such as the credit application, agreement or contract.

The wording is similar to this:

“By signing this document, customer agrees to accept and understands that text messages may be used when servicing their account, including the collecting of debts.”

Others have taken it a step further and have a more detailed outline of how text messages will be used.

They always get the customer to sign and acknowledge this provision:

“You the customer authorize us (your company) to send you (customer) a text message at any mobile number at which we reasonable believe we can contact you, for any lawful purpose, including but not limited to:

  • Suspected fraud or identity theft on your account
  • Obtaining information necessary to service your account
  • Collecting on your account
  • Notifying you to important issues regarding your account

Something important to remember if you are thinking of doing this is that all messages include a mechanism for the consumer to opt out of receiving further text messages at any time.

Remember, customers can opt out of text messages if you're thinking of using it for debt collection.Click To Tweet

This is to protect the consumer and the collector, especially since the law does not specifically address text messages being sent as a form of dunning.

If you decide to send text messages about bills to your customers, make sure the customer is not charged for the text and that you as the company, incur that charge.

The Guide to Getting Paid: Weed Out Bad Paying Customers, Collect on Past Due Balances, and Avoid Bad Debt Price: Most small business owners think about credit and collections when it's already too late. This book will help you get the money you deserve. The Guide to Getting Paid: Weed Out Bad Paying Customers, Collect on Past Due Balances, and Avoid Bad Debt Full Disclosure: I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Do’s & Don’ts When Using Social Networking Sites In Your Debt Collection Efforts

Do’s

  • Get the proper training
  • Skip tracing or locating debtors
  • Research collection tools, such as software or skip tracing tools
  • Use Credit reporting
  • Use database technology to maintain account information on customers that owes you money
  • Access consumer payments only with authorization for EACH specific payment or transaction
  • Research place of employment

Don’ts

  • Instant message a debtor about a debt
  • Initiate more payments on a bank account when additional transactions have not been authorized.
  • Send a “friend request” to a debtor on any social networking website

Business owners and credit managers can utilize social networking sites to locate or find a debtor or to get a mailing address or employment information in order to enforce any in-house collections.

With a place of employment, a creditor can better evaluate someone’s ability to pay and if you’re in the position to attach assets, you would then be able to garnish pay if state laws allow.

Business owners can also use database technology to maintain the account information of customers to whom they have already extended credit.

For example, if you are a member of a credit bureau, you can utilize many online services to help you collect.

Communicating with your customers or debtors is not a single communication effort, in order for any of your efforts to work you need to use a multi-communication strategy that works for your business, your customers and follows the law, online and off.

The Guide to Getting Paid: Weed Out Bad Paying Customers, Collect on Past Due Balances, and Avoid Bad Debt Price: Most small business owners think about credit and collections when it's already too late. This book will help you get the money you deserve. The Guide to Getting Paid: Weed Out Bad Paying Customers, Collect on Past Due Balances, and Avoid Bad Debt Full Disclosure: I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

These helpful tips were shared by Michelle Dunn, author of an award winning book who has spent the last 18 years stepping into dangerous debt collection potholes. 

About the Author Denise O'Berry

Hello! I'm Denise, Your Project Partner -- I manage your projects and the project team so you can achieve that dream business you've been chasing. Managing the project plan, the deliverables, the timeline, the to-do list, and the team to get it all done are the things that light up my day. I'd love to help you get your projects done. Click here to learn more.

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