Placing a customer for collection is one of those moments that’s hard to undo.
It’s seen as an adversarial event, and even if the customer pays soon after the collection is placed, the business relationship often takes a hit.
What’s more, the claimant typically incurs collection fees, adding insult to injury. So, naturally there’s a tendency for claimants to wait, and wait some more, before placing a collection.
But what if there was an in-between step?
Well, now there is.
Blue Book Services recently introduced what we’re calling “Courtesy Contacts” for situations where the claimant isn’t quite ready to open a collection.
If you’ve ever placed a Blue Book collection on our website, the green buttons below will look familiar to you. The only difference is we’ve now added the middle button, “Send a Courtesy Contact.”
Courtesy Contacts are automated “nudges” that Members can use to encourage their past due accounts to pay invoices without taking the more significant step of opening a collection.
When a user sends a Courtesy Contact, the past due account receives an email from Blue Book Services that reads:
Although no claim has been filed at this time, _____________ has asked us to send you a note regarding their invoice number(s) __________ dated __________. Because one or more of these invoices appears to be past due, we ask that you please “reply all” to this email and provide Blue Book Services, LLC and Blue Book with a status update.
Again, no claim has been filed, this is not a credit rating event at this time, but we do encourage you to attempt to resolve this matter as soon as possible.
Trading Assistance Team
Blue Book Services
This service is free and entirely automated, so our Trading Assistance team will not be directly involved unless drawn into the matter by the respondent. The sender receives the following message after sending a Courtesy Contact.
Thank you. Your Courtesy Contact has been submitted.
An automated email will be sent to ________________ on your behalf. Hopefully, you will hear back from them in the next few days. If not, please let us know if you would like to place the account for collection with Blue Book Services.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.
We can be reached at email@example.com or 630.668.3500.
Courtesy Contacts are “courteous” because they do not appear in the Claims Activity Table or the Credit Sheet (as Claims do when unpaid).
But Courtesy Contacts do loop our Trading Assistance team into payment problems and potentially help members get paid before filing a collection becomes necessary.
At minimum, by sending a Courtesy Contact the sender gives the respondent one more chance to resolve the matter without affecting the respondent’s credit profile.
To help ensure success, there are a couple restrictions to keep in mind. First, Courtesy Contacts are designed to be used for invoices that are at least 30 days old. Second, if the invoice is disputed, users are encouraged to discuss the file with Blue Book’s Trading Assistance team before sending the Courtesy Contact.
Properly used, we feel this new service will be a win-win for both parties.
We hope you’ll find Courtesy Contacts to be a useful addition to your accounts receivable toolkit.
Please feel free to sign in today and try this new tool at www.producebluebook.com. As always, we welcome your feedback.
This is a Trading Assistance column from the January/February 2024 issue of Produce Blueprints Magazine. Click here to read the whole issue.