1. Credit Policy should be made clear to any new account from the outset. In the event of any misunderstanding, clarify immediately the question area so that your customer fully understands your terms. Do not hesitate to request payment when it becomes due.


2. Credit records begin to develop for each account at the inception of a business relationship. This history should be referred to in monitoring that customer's tendencies. If a firm is exceeding your payment terms habitually, keep them under a close watch with immediate follow-up when payment becomes due. Similarly, trade reports and credit interchange reports should also be systematically updated so that your information is complete and current.


3. Payment plans should never be encouraged by any of your representatives, sales, credit or collection. Requests for extended plans should be discouraged immediately by your reps. Partial payments are many times submitted by an account to "buy additional time on the balance. They should be accepted, but followed up with an immediate request for payment of the remaining amount due. Acknowledge the good faith effort on the part of your account, but make clear your policy on adherence to terms.


4. Communication is essential in resolving any problem account. Keep channels open and make sure your follow-up is being directed to the proper party - the individual with decision making authority. Personal visits to an account, where feasible, should be encouraged.


5. Disputes/Discrepancies should be dealt with immediately. By resolving a dispute promptly, excuses for non-payment of a large balance are denied your account. Additionally, by demonstrating your resolve to rectify any disputes, you are indicating to the client that you will not tolerate any excessive delays in arranging for payment.


6. The Next Step - after exhausting all internal methods of collection, it no longer is practical for you to continue collection follow-up. At that time your next step is the placement of your account with a professional commercial collection service.