Limited Information = Limited Returns

Person dumping money into a toilet bowl --- Image by © Rubberball/CorbisInaccurate or inadequate information costs creditors and collection agencies thousands of dollars at the local level.  Thousands of dollars are being lost because creditors lose contact with their customer, or because they do not have accurate or adequate information.  They need to locate them in order to contact them and collect money that is owed.

When it comes to tracking consumers, the more information available the better.  That’s why collecting a phone number, address, date of birth, zip code, employment information, and social security number are important when working with consumers.  Each of these pieces of information is a valuable part of the puzzle.

Once the creditor identifies the consumer who is not complying with the terms of their agreement, they send the account to collections in order to better their chances of collection and minimize their losses. For the collection industry, EVERY piece of information is important.  The totality of information can help build a demographic profile.

A person’s address and zip code are crucial in finding where this person lives so a bill can be sent.  Address and zip code also play a factor in determining a consumer’s ability to pay.  Based on demographics, a consumer living in Beverley Hills is probably more likely to pay than someone living in a less upscale or working class neighborhood.

If the mail is being returned because the person no longer lives there or there have been no responses, it is time to contact the consumer by phone.  Calling the right phone number is important in order to make right party contact and communicate the urgency of payment.

Employment is also important.  An employed person has income, and at their place of work there should be a phone by which they can be contacted.  If the original phone number is disconnected or not the right number, a work phone is the next best option.

Like our fingerprints, a social security number is one thing that individualizes us as a person.  It can be used to find a credit report, which hopefully has updated contact information.  That is a last resort, though, and consumer information should be gathered before an account reaches collections.

Why isn’t all information always provided?  There’s a variety of ways information can be left out.  Creditors might not require their customers to fill out certain information, leaving themselves vulnerable.  Human error can occur when clerical staff of a creditor or collection agency is working too fast or simply not paying attention when inputting data.  A consumer could intentionally mislead in an attempt to defraud.  Handwriting can be sloppy and illegible, so a clerical staff member may just make their best guess on what a letter or number is.

This can be mitigated.  Interactive online forms are a solution.  For example, a patient fills out a form before they even enter the office for their appointment.  The information is legible and the patient is no longer filling out forms while waiting.  Customer service is improved because the process as a whole speeds up.  The patient and the medical provider both benefit.

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If you need assistance in updating and gathering accurate customer information, Credit Consulting Services (CCS) can help with customer intake forms.  These forms make it easier for the consumer while also gathering necessary and accurate information.  CCS can create many different forms, including credit application and patient registration.  For more information on improving your intake forms contact CCS at 800-679-6888.

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