All collection agencies may appear to be the same from the outside, e.g. cubicles, phone lines, and representatives trying to persuade individuals to repay their financial obligations; all in exchange for a percentage of what they bring in. For creditors such as banks, utilities, property management firms, healthcare practices, or anyone else with debts that have not been paid; it can be difficult to tell the difference between a good collection agency and a great collection agency. At the end of the day, does it matter?

It absolutely does.

A collection agency that performs well collecting money certainly matters, but what matters more? YOUR REPUTATION! Every phone call that is made, every letter that is mailed will reference your company. Do you want a collection agency that cuts corners, isn’t afraid of bending the rules, or doesn’t care what your customers think of you after they get off the phone? A third-party collection agency is an extension of your business. They have to match your values, your culture, and align with your objectives.

A patient with an unpaid debt is going to need a doctor the next time he or she gets sick. Will they call you if they get a call from a collection agency that is rude and doesn’t seem to care about the person on the other end of the phone? Are you willing to run that risk?

What separates good collection agencies from great collection agencies is the understanding that the objective is not just to collect on an unpaid debt. The objective is to maintain a positive relationship between you and your customer. That is a tight needle to thread when dealing with money. Not everyone can do it and even fewer can do it well.

Take the time to really look at a collection agency before handing over your customer relationships. Make sure they will treat your customers the same way you would. It’s the golden rule of collections.