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Governments aren’t in the collections business. Focus in our space lies on serving our communities, and making sure important programs get the funding they need, and victims of crime get the justice they deserve. It’s a tough job these days – And that’s why government offices need to step up their automation when it comes to receivables processing.

Automating your collections process enables scarce personnel to focus only on those tasks requiring human attention, while providing a method to ensure all debts get touched and optimum routing for the highest likelihood of collection is achieved.

Consider these four important practices when automating your collections cycle:

  • Correspondence – Put a correspondence strategy in place that enables you to send letters and/or notices to the debtor at a predetermined interval, with regular notices requested and sent automatically. The process should then be altered automatically if the debtor responds with payment, or asks for a payment plan or some other arrangement. A receivables management solution can help you execute these activities, and free up your account reps for other duties.
  • Automating phone contact – Debtors are most likely to pay if they are contacted on a regular basis. This avoids the “out of sight out of mind” excuse, and keeps payment at the forefront of the debtor’s mind. Correspondence by letter is usually appropriate, and is most affective if it includes some phone contact, even if it’s just a phone message left for the debtor, or perhaps a text message or an email. Again, these contacts should be set up on a predetermined interval, providing the debtor with regular contact, but with no involvement from your account reps.
  • Skip tracing – When a debtor is loaded with a bad or missing address or phone, or when an address or phone is flagged as bad or missing, this debtor should be automatically sent through a skip tracing process that finds and populates a good address and/or phone number. This process not only makes contact more efficient, but can also help flag cell phones, which are subject to much more stringent compliance requirements.
  • Payment plans – When a debtor is set up on a payment plan, the system should be able to monitor that plan and only bring it to your account rep’s attention if payments are missed and automatic reminders fail to secure payment. Online payment portals can even enable the debtor to negotiate a payment plan on a website, avoiding the need for your account rep to negotiate and set up the payment plan.

Automating these processes helps many government offices and agencies not only pick more low-hanging fruit – and avoiding outsourcing too early in the collection process – but focus on the parts of their job that matter most. By putting more of the receivables process in the hands of reliable, trusted technology, debtors are treated fairly, consistently, and the important community programs that need funding become easier to implement, and more successful. Take a look at your own operations, and learn more where opportunities might exist.

 

For more information on additional ways you can maximize your in-house collection efforts, read the full ebook 8 Ways Government Offices Collect More, and Avoid Unnecessary Outsourcing.

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Disclaimer: Ontario Systems is a technology company and provides this blog article solely for general informational and marketing purposes. You should not rely on the content of this material for any other purpose or as specific guidance for your company. Ontario Systems’ advice, services, tools and products described herein do not guarantee compliance with any law or industry standard. You are ultimately responsible for your own company’s actions and compliance efforts. Because everyone’s situation is different, you must consult your own attorneys, accountants, and/or other advisors to obtain specific advice on your company’s compliance, legal, tax, regulatory and/or other business needs. Despite Ontario Systems’ efforts to provide current and up-to-date information, you need to recognize that the information contained herein may become outdated quickly and may contain errors and/or other inaccuracies.

© 2018 Ontario Systems, LLC. All rights reserved. Information contained in this document is subject to change. Reproduction of this publication is not permitted without the express permission of Ontario Systems, LLC.

Posted by Steve Ard

Steve Ard is the Senior Director of Government Services at Ontario Systems and manages the RevQ product line which services over 100 government clients. Steve has been in the software industry for more than 25 years, primarily focused on government collection software solutions. He has been a key player in the development of government specific modules for legacy products, as well as on-going custom development of software. Steve was the primary designer for a collection application built from the ground up specifically for governments.
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