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Southwest Recovery Services Highlights the Solutions to Expect from a Full-Service Collection Agency
People who start or purchase a business hope to increase their market share, enlarge their customer base, increase brand equity, expand operations, and of course, make a positive impact in their community and create a reputation and legacy of success and excellence. Nowhere on this list of aspirations is “endlessly chase down overdue payments” — yet that is precisely what many end up doing.
The bad news is that there is no way to completely put an end to this problem. If organizations need or want to extend credit (i.e. provide products and/or services to businesses or consumers in advance of agreed-upon compensation), there are going to be overdue accounts. But the good news is that organizations of all sizes — from small startups to large enterprises — can effectively recover some, most, or in some cases all their overdue debt by partnering with a full-service collection agency.
According to Southwest Recovery Services, which serves clients across a range of industries including apartment and rent, commercial, retail and professional services, medical and dental, utilities, municipal governments, and HOAs, here are the solutions that organizations should expect to benefit from (as required) when they work with a professional, proven and performance-based full-service collection agency:
Commercial and Consumer Debt Recovery Solutions
In essence, debt recovery is a process in which an organization outsources debt collection to a third party — i.e. a collection agency. This is done after the organization, despite its best and prudent efforts, fails in its attempts to receive payment. Sometimes this is because debtors cannot be reached; or more typically, they make themselves unreachable by not returning calls or acknowledging letters and emails. Other times, it is because debtors promise to pay or agree to a structured repayment plan, but do not follow through on their commitment. And in some cases, debtors renege on their legal obligation to pay a court-ordered civil judgement. In these scenarios, a full-service collection agency may seek to enforce the order and ultimately recover the funds through methods such as vehicle repossession, real estate seizure, wage garnishment, and bank levies (i.e. a legal action that obliges banks to freeze funds in a debtor’s bank account and remit it to a creditor).
“Many organizations — especially larger ones — believe that in-house collection efforts will save them money and time, as well as reduce legal risks,” commented a representative from Southwest Recovery Services, which has trained and experienced debt recovery teams based in Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Oklahoma, and St. Louis. “However, they soon realize that it is much more cost effective and efficient to hire a reputable full-service collection agency. They ultimately end up recovering more money, reduce their legal risk exposure, and free their people up to focus on high-value priorities.”
Medical and Dental Collection Solutions
Overdue debt is increasingly prevalent in the healthcare industry, which places a difficult — and in some cases, unsustainable — burden on practices, hospitals and health networks that, contrary to what many patients and members of the general public believe, have ongoing and significant overhead costs that must be paid (e.g. salaries, utilities, security, maintenance, etc.). Ensuring that patients pay their bills is not about padding the bottom-line or rewarding investors; it is about ensuring the capacity to properly and fully serve patient communities.
Full-service collection agencies offer two solutions to help medical and dental organizations keep receivables in check and prevent the unnecessary aging of accounts (receivables become more difficult to collect as they age). The first is an early out collection program, which identifies patients with overdue accounts, alerts them by letter about the situation, and invites them to open a dialogue and resolve the issue in an expedient and appropriate manner.
“At this stage, the tone and tenor of the communication is carefully crafted to help patients grasp the seriousness of the situation, but at the same time assure them that they have not damaged the doctor-patient relationship,” commented a spokesperson from Southwest Recovery Services, which charges its clients a percentage (i.e. contingency fee) of the amount that its debt collection specialists are able to recover.
The second solution is revenue cycle management, which seeks to help medical and dental offices optimize cash glow by streamlining billings and the claims management process. In addition to making automated and manual workflows more efficient, more cost effective and more compliant, this effort reduces the overall volume of delinquent accounts.
“Revenue cycle management views all of the activities in the claims management process — such as setting up appointments, sending reminders, determining charges, submitting claims, and following-up with insurance companies — as important, since each has an impact on revenue management,” commented a spokesperson from Southwest Recovery Services. “To put this another way, just as human beings can only be healthy when all of the organs and systems in the body are coordinated and functioning properly, revenue management can only be optimized when all administrative activities that impact revenue are coordinated and functioning properly. The vision and approach must be comprehensive and holistic.”
Full-service collection agencies also provide consulting solutions to help organizations develop a robust and customized credit policy, which includes collection strategies and schedules to maximize cash flow and mitigate account aging, as well as targeted staff training with respect to invoicing, communication, and other tasks.
“By improving their workflows and training their people, many organizations dramatically reduce their volume and amount of overdue accounts,” commented a spokesperson from Southwest Recovery Services. “The adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure definitely applies here.”
In addition, full-service collection agencies offer consulting on accounts receivable management, which helps organizations maximize cash flow, and ultimately strengthen and/or expand their operations.
“Many organizations in all industries struggle with a lack of visibility and predictability when it comes to revenue management,” commented a spokesperson from Southwest Recovery Services. “Expert advice and practical direction in this area helps organizations get in front of their invoices instead of struggle to keep up with them, so that they get paid consistently. Instead of looking behind, they can look ahead.”
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes