Getting the most out of your collection notes

Brian O'Connor

I recently read a blog post by Steli Efti, the founder of on the importance of keeping good notes during the sales process and it reminded me of the fact that chasing a prospect for a sale is very much like chasing a customer for a payment.  They both come with an objective and they both follow the process of leading your prospect/customer down the funnel to achieve that objective.

Just like a sales call, keeping good notes is vital for getting the most out of your collection calls. As we all know, when it comes collection calls we will hear lots of stories and excuses from our customers, all being used as delaying tactics.  Our customers will often rely on the fact that we might not remember what was discussed or agreed the last time we called.

This is why notes are so important!

Your notes allow you to be super clear when you are on the collection call. When you have all your facts and figures in front of you it shows the customer that you are highly organised and therefore less likely to be prone to delay tactics.

Steli’s blog gave 5 awesome tips to get the most out of your sales calls, so here is our take on these tips to get the most out of your collection notes.

Pro tip #1: keep your notes brief

Capture only the important points, there is no need to record every aspect of the call so don’t spend too much time making long elaborated notes - if you do this it will turn note taking into a chore and a difficult habit for you to keep up.

Pro tip #2: focus on important, actionable, and insightful

Your notes should centre around these three main principles

  • what are the most important aspects of the call, is there a specific issue that needs to be resolved?
  • what are the actionable items from the call and who needs to perform them, is it you or the customer?
  • what insights did you get from the call? Was this a once off issue or does it have the potential to become a regular occurrence? Did you get any other information from the call, such as payment run dates, or who is responsible for approving your invoices - this is information you can use to avoid issues in the future.

Pro tip #3: note action items and timelines

There will always be action items from a call,  both you and your customer will always be required to do something - in your case it could be investigating the cause of a customer issue, or scheduling a follow up call.  For your customer it might be to action the payment.  All actions should have a deadline attached, and you should be pushing for that deadline to be on your terms not your customers.

Pro tip #4: develop your own style

To help you get into the habit of taking notes it is important to develop your own style. You should also factor in that sometimes your notes might be required by someone else who may be covering for you if you are on vacation or on sick leave, therefore you should avoid using acronyms or shorthand.  You should also ensure your notes are in a central location and easy to access and read.

Pro tip #5: build good habits

Get into the habit of making notes after every call you have with a customer and sending the customer an email summarising the call and what the agreed actions on both sides are.

When we built CreditCruncher we understood the importance of good note keeping. We also knew that many Credit Controllers kept their notes in a number of different ways, from desk diaries to scribbles on post-it notes stuck to their computer screen.  Thats not the best way to get the most out of your notes, so we made notes a central part of the main task screen in CreditCruncher.

notes on the CreditCruncher main task screen

Better notes make for better collection calls!

photo credit: Christin Hume on Unsplash

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