Welcome to AMA Firm's Blog - Your Source of Latest News in Commercial Collections Industry

Processing Your Emotions After a Rough Call


debt collectingThere’s no doubt that you’ll have to deal with some emotionally-charged calls as a debt collector. From the yellers to the criers, emotional clients have a way of taking a toll on your own emotional state. A few choice insults can leave you angry or crushed for the rest of the day, while a client with a truly sympathetic case may leave your feeling guilty for doing your job. For your mental health, it’s essential that you learn how to process and deal with your feelings after a tough call.

 

When You’re Mad or Hurt

No matter how long you’ve been a debt collector, sometimes a client knows exactly what to say to get your blood boiling. Maybe they attack your character or resort to slurs. In these cases, it’s best to give yourself a break after a phone call. If you’re worked up, you won’t truly be able to focus on your next call. Or worse, you could bring your own anger into the call and put yet another client on edge.

Remove yourself from your desk for a moment to take a short walk or get some water. Getting away and moving around will help you clear your head. When you’re feeling especially low, it doesn’t hurt to have a few meaningful affirmations to repeat to yourself. Take some deep breaths and remind yourself that this person isn’t actually angry with you— they’re angry with their situation, and you happen to be the easiest punching bag.

 

When You’re Annoyed

You may not encounter a call that makes you truly angry very often. But you probably encounter calls that leave you annoyed every day. Rude clients, clients who lie, clients who ramble to avoid talking about their debt. There’s plenty of calls that can make you frustrated and cranky, and that’s okay.

But if your notice that your frustration is spilling over into other situations, it’s time to take steps to deal with it. You may not even realize a call has bothered you until you recognize subtle changes in your mood or behavior. When you’re constantly annoyed, you’ll lose patience with other clients, coworkers, and friends and family.

When you’ve had a rough day, pay extra attention to how you react to those around you. Are you really mad at your partner for forgetting to unload the dishwasher or are you still miffed that a client hung up on you?

 

When You’re Sympathetic

Sometimes you encounter a client who has truly heartbreaking story. They’re kind and apologetic, and they’ve ended up in a tough financial situation through little fault of their own. Know that it’s okay to feel sympathy. You’re a human being, and the client is likely to be more cooperative if they know that you actually do empathize with them. However, don’t let those feeling turn into guilt or get in the way of doing your job.

Remember that this debt is hurting your client too; it’s ruining their credit, and the sooner they pay it off, the better. You didn’t cause that situation, and you have nothing to feel guilty about. With or without your calls, that debt is still there, wreaking havoc on their finances and credit. Think of yourself as someone who is trying to help them address that problem rather than someone who is out to get them.

 

When you’ve had a rough day, give yourself grace and remember that you’re entitled to emotions too. But to maintain your professionalism and mental health, it’s important to deal with those emotions as fully and as quickly as you can.

7 Myths About Debt Collectors


If the thought of dealing with a debt collector seems daunting, you’re not alone. Often there can be confusion or misconceptions about debt collectors and why they do what they do. It’s important to be informed with the correct information. At Alexander, Miller & Associates, LLC., we want you to feel confident in your information regarding debt collectors. We hope to use this post to clear up some common misconceptions and dispel some myths about debt collectors.

 

Myth One: It’s okay to keep ignoring the call…the debt will go away eventually.

This myth is far from the truth. To start, the debt will continually affect your credit report, as it will be listed on the report until its time limit is reached. Once it is no longer on your credit report, it still remains in the creditor’s records. This can affect you later down the road if you need to utilize an account with the same business again. It’s also important to remember that while ignoring is the easiest step to take, it isn’t the best choice to make. As we’ll go over later in the post, paying off the debt will stop the calls for good and help increase your credit score.

 

Myth Two: Once I pay the debt collector, my credit report will not have it listed and my credit score will be able to go up.

Not so fast…just because you have paid the debt collector doesn’t mean it automatically gets taken off your credit report. In fact, the debt collector’s responsibility is to mark it as paid rather than remove it completely. In addition, it is always a positive thing to pay off the debt in regards to your credit score, however, it may take a while until you see that number go up. To increase your credit score, you should expect to allow time and positive payments to build before the number goes up.

 

Myth Three: If I just tell the debt collector to stop calling, they will stop.

If you are telling the debt collector to stop calling while at work due to rules set by your employer, the collector will have to cease calling while at work. You can also tell the debt collector not to call at certain times, however, it is essential to know that the debt collector does not legally have to accept that request. If you want to request that debt collector stop calling you altogether, you will have to submit a written request in order for them to legally have to honor that. The written request should be simple and to the point, and you can find help in drafting this letter through a simple search online.

 

Myth Four: I can just pay the original creditor rather than the debt collector.

What this boils down to is the contract between the original creditor and the debt collector. Since the original creditor could not obtain the money from you, they transfer that responsibility to a debt collector. It is also a possibility that the original creditor sold the debt to a debt buyer (different than a debt collector) and no longer has any tie to that debt. There is always a contract involved between the two parties, and you may find that the contract does not allow the creditor to accept your payments. At this point, you will need to pay off your debt through the debt collector.

 

Myth Five: Paying some of the debt off, but not all, will at least tame the calls from debt collectors.

While, yes, some payment is better than none, you are obligated to pay off the debt completely. While it may cause a small break in the calls, it will not ultimately work to cease communication from the debt collector.

 

Myth Six: Collectors can seize my property and take money from my bank if I don’t pay my debt off.

Debt collectors make money when consumers pay off debt. While this is the route they hope to go in, it is a myth that they can threaten to seize property or threaten other measures like jail time. A debt collector can only seize property if the debt was tied to the property and they have the ability to repossess it. Another instance where this can happen is if the debt collector sues and gains a court judgment allowing them to do so.  

 

Myth Seven: The debt collector can only talk to me about my debt.

While this is true in some circumstances, there are three instances where a debt collector can talk to others about your debt. If you have an attorney, the debt collector can share information with them. If you are married, the debt collector has the ability to talk with your spouse. If you are under the age of 18, the debt collector has the right to talk to your parents. Aside from these three instances, it is against the law for them to discuss your debt with anyone other than you, the original creditor, and the credit bureaus.

 

We hope that dispelling some of the common myths about debt collectors was helpful and that you feel more informed about the debt collection process. If you have additional questions or want to know more, feel free to reach out to us today.

Understanding Commercial Credit Reports


As an individual, you understand the importance of a high credit score when it comes to making a large purchase, like a home or a car. In the same way, commercial credit is important when starting out on a new business venture or partnership.

Based on a 100-point scale, a commercial credit score measures the creditworthiness of a business. Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian are the major business credit bureaus, and they verify business data in different ways. Unlike personal credit, business credit reporting is not standardized. However, they typically evaluate the following factors:

  • Company information (i.e., address, proprietorship or parent company, subsidiaries)
  • Annual revenue
  • Lending risk factors (i.e., late payments, defaults, liens)
  • Banking history (i.e., on-time payments, loans)

Establishing your creditworthiness as a business is much like establishing it as an individual. Pay your lenders and vendors on time. You never want to be 90+ days past due on any invoices. Keep your credit-utilization ratio low.

When you start a new business, knowing your commercial credit score is critical in obtaining the best lending rates and financing. Additionally, you may discover inaccuracies in your report that must be rectified before you seek business loan qualification. If you do find errors, contact the major business credit bureaus to correct them.

You wouldn’t buy a new home without first checking your credit score. And you shouldn’t do business with a company without checking their credit as well. If you are interested in obtaining the credit report on a business, you do not need permission. Commercial credit scores are public record.

As a leader in B2B collections, Alexander Miller & Associates understands the critical importance of obtaining commercial credit reports not only for your business, but for any business you may lend to or partner with, in the past or future.

We offer free commercial credit reports. Our report is a comprehensive list of UCC filings, open or pending lawsuits and derogatory credit information. Request your free commercial credit report today.

Streamline Your Accounts Receivable Process in 4 Easy Steps


 

Often times, companies centered on aggressive growth focus all their optimization efforts on sales and marketing, neglecting to improve internal processes. But it is crucial that your business runs smoothly if you are trying to grow. When you don’t have to worry about human resources, accounting, and onboarding, you can really focus on customer acquisition.

One of the first places you should optimize is how you receive and process payments. This process should be reliably strong as your business grows, especially if collecting payment on time is a consistent issue. Here are 4 steps to keep in mind:

Explain the credit and billing process as early as possible

We encourage businesses to discuss payment and billing even at the time of sale. If your payments process is an efficient one, which it should be, this could be considered a valid selling point. Disputes often arise out of confusion, so make your billing process clear. Give numbers and website information as contact points in case your customer has questions or difficulty with payment.

Manage customer data for accurate billing

Nothing is more frustrating than billing the incorrect amount or charging the wrong customer. Keep your records tidy to avoid unnecessary billing requests. Use a customer relationship management tool to keep track of contact information, billing dates, past due letters, and accounting phone calls. This documentation will also come in handy if you have to send your customer to collections.

Assess your accounts regularly

Make sure that you are keeping track of which customers are past due and how long it has been since they’ve paid their bill. It is much easier for a customer to reconcile 30 days than it is for them to pay for 6 months of unpaid services. When you stay on top of your billing process, you’re better able to proactively address late payments.

Automate your billing and collections process

Eliminate any added chance for human error with a completely automated billing and collections process. Just like the customer relationship management tool mentioned above, automated software gives you a data record of all bills paid and unpaid, including partial payments. Automation also allows you to create and manage special payment plans for delinquent accounts.

Even when you’ve taken all the steps to streamline your accounts receivable process, non-payments happen. When you’ve exhausted all your efforts, your best option is to work with a commercial collections agency like Alexander, Miller, & Associates. We are adequately prepared to handle your most difficult collections cases. Contact us now for more information.

 

5 Keys to an Effective Demand Letter


Business-to-business commercial collections in HoustonWhen your numerous calls and letters go unanswered, it’s time to involve a recognized commercial debt recovery firm. An official demand letter from a professional, recognized collections agency shows your seriousness and the potential for litigation if a voluntary pay agreement isn’t reached. At Alexander, Miller & Associates, we will work with you to craft a demand letter that gets results.

Confusing your debtor with a letter that is too long or unclear could hinder successful repayment. Get to the point and write in a concise manner while avoiding jargon. This will clarify the urgency of the situation and hopefully yield a positive result. When sending out an official demand letter, keep in mind the following 5 components:

  1. Emphasize that other forms of communication have been exhausted. Underline the frequency in which your business has tried to contact the debtor. You should also have a record of each of these contact points.
  2. Make the possibility of litigation very clear. Normally, a debtor is given 10 days from the receipt of the demand letter to resolve their debt. Whatever your terms are, make it unequivocally clear that a lawsuit is imminent.
  3. Give them the opportunity of alternative payment solutions. Sometimes businesses are unable to pay due to current financial hardship, but will be capable of payment in the future. Knowing that they have the option for a payment plan could encourage them to negotiate terms, rather than continuing to avoid you.
  4. Give them the opportunity to deny the debt. A response, even a negative one, is helpful. It confirms that the person you’re reaching is indeed the right one to speak to about recovery. At that point, a private investigation might be valuable to determine the possibility of successful litigation.
  5. Put your deadlines in writing. Support your legal claim with the chronological facts: when the debt was incurred, when you contacted them for collection, etc. Then be sure to give deadlines on when you must see a response before litigation begins.

Alexander, Miller & Associates utilizes a series of legal demand letters and collector efforts to assist in the collection process. Our 60 years of collection agency experience ensures the highest success rate.

 

Importance of Accounts Receivables Management


If your business provides products or services on credit, then you are already well aware of the strain that a delinquent account can have on your cash flow and bottom line. Unfortunately, you may have already made the faulty assumption that because a customer has come to you for a product or service then that ensures that they will pay for it. You may have already come to the realization that many customers fail to pay on time or, even worse, refuse to pay at all.

commercial collections agency in Houston TX
Why exhaust yourself chasing money when you can get the experts to do it for you?

Continue reading “Importance of Accounts Receivables Management”

Debt Collection Process: Phone Calls vs. Emails


We already talked about 5 ways to get your not paying customer on the phone and tips on how to collect commercial debt, so, today let’s talk about difference in means of communications for debt collection.

Today, a list of communication means includes a lot of strategies. People call each other, send text messages and emails, use video calls and enjoy other advancements in technology. Individuals have their own preferences about their most comfortable way of dealing with others. The issue of choosing one becomes particularly important when it comes to dealing with debtors. It can be a good strategy to ask your debtor about the way he prefers. This trick helps the debtor keep in touch with you in the way he finds easiest.

Continue reading “Debt Collection Process: Phone Calls vs. Emails”

6 Steps How to Ensure a Stable Financial Future as Business Owner


We have been talking about business debt recovery for quite a while, however, wouldn’t it be much better if you as business owner didn’t have any debt in the first place?! So, we gathered some tips on how to ensure a stable financial future and avoid debt for business owners altogether.

Financial future for business ownerContinue reading “6 Steps How to Ensure a Stable Financial Future as Business Owner”

Alexander, Miller & Associates Debt Collection Agency: Debts Paid, Money Gained, Budget Saved


Alexander Miller & Associates commercial debt collection agency is an expert in fast track debt recovery and onsite investigations. We provide excellent debt recovery services in Houston and nationwide without the expenses and resources needed for tiresome and dragging lawsuits.

Continue reading “Alexander, Miller & Associates Debt Collection Agency: Debts Paid, Money Gained, Budget Saved”

3 Tips for Selecting the Right Commercial Collection Agency


The market of debt crecovery is overcrowded with lots of commercial collection agencies, companies and firms offering their services in the field of debt recovery. Here are 3 more tips to consider when selecting a partner in the debt collection process.

top 3 tips for choosing right commercial collection agency
top 3 png 8 – www.pngimage.net

1. Make a study.

Debt collection agencies may vary in size and range from local firms working only within one state to big international companies with an international network of certified investigators and experience attorneys. Choose the right agency meeting your requirements. Alexander, Miller & Associates offer a wide range of debt recovery services in Houston and nationwide using their cutting edge techniques and methods and cooperating with their extensive network of examined professionals.

2. Choose the right specialization.

Your industry may require specific solutions as each field of business differs in its features. If a collection agency specializes in your industry, it has the required experience to deal professionally with the faced challenges. Alexander, Miller & Associates deals with debt collection in all industries, including trucking transportation & freight, heavy equipment rental, restaurant supply, wholesale produce and seafood, staffing and building supply.

3. Compare Contingency Fees.

The most wide-spread payment models are flat fee which is usually quite small and offered in the early stage of debt collection process and contingency. In AMA firm our low contingency rates are only charged once we collect. We offer a no collection, no cost service.