4 Ways to Make Sure You Are Choosing the Right Veterinary Debt Collection Agency!
The problem is that time is money and the veterinary debt collection process is typically NOT in the veterinarian’s favor. As is true in all forms of debt recovery, the longer a delinquent account stays unpaid, the less likely it is to be collected upon. Here are some typical debt collection standards:
- At 90 days delinquent, you have about a 74% chance of collecting on that debt if you take action immediately and efficiently.
- At 180 days, your chances of recovery fall to 30%.
- Once an account reaches the 9-12 months past due point, the likelihood of collection decreases significantly and will most likely need to be written off as a loss.
We suggest outsourcing your delinquent veterinary accounts to a 3rd party collection agency before the 90-day past due mark. And to help you find a veterinary debt collection agency that can prove to be a lifelong partner while maximizing your recovery, keep a lookout for these 4 key areas:
Client Relations/Customer Service: First impressions make all the difference in the debt collection world, and you can learn a lot about a company by the way that someone picks up the phone. Keep a keen eye out for whether or not the collection agency’s client services staff remember your name and the key specifics/requirements of your debt recovery needs. Attention to detail is key to debt recovery, so choose a collection agency that treats you as if you’re their only client.
Compliance & Training: When vetting a potential collections partner, start by asking for verification that they are compliant and up-to-date with industry regulations and training standards. Some key laws and federal regulations in the debt collection industry include the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accounting Act (HIPAA), and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Make sure your potential partner in veterinary debt collection understands and has compliance management processes in place to avoid violating these key industry laws.
Flexibility: Find an agency that gives you options in your debt collection approach. Contingency collection programs sometimes dial up the intensity of an agency’s collections efforts, which can often lead to higher recovery. However, cost certainty is sometimes desired, which may lead you to a fixed-fee service. Make sure your agency offers a wide variety of programs, and choose the collections approach that best fits your needs.
Taking the Necessary Steps: The most effective collection agencies use every resource available to collect on your accounts. Make sure, for instance, that they report to the major credit bureaus to hold your clients accountable for their fiscal obligations. You’ll have plenty of pet owners that will simply ignore letters and calls asking for payment. However, a mark on their credit report is often the key factor in receiving payment on a past due account. Other effective collection agency resources include skip tracing, industry-specific software and technology, and trained collection professionals who know how to maintain your valuable customer relationships while still getting you paid!
YOUR TURN: What standards have you used when choosing the right veterinary debt collection agency for YOUR needs? What qualities do you look for in a collections partner? We’d love to hear some of your strategies for finding the right agency for your veterinary practice!
No Legal Advice Intended: This communication is for informational purposes only and is not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. This communication does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and I.C. System, Inc. You should contact an attorney for advice on specific legal issues.