8 Mindful Habits That Create a More Productive AR Environment

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Guest Post by Carla Buggs, Revenue Recovery Operations and Collections at Fastly

Handling collections has always been a difficult and demanding job, but COVID-19 made it even more stressful as cash flow took center stage. Today, there is more urgency around collections than in my entire 20 years in accounts receivable, and remote work further complicates the situation. To survive this stress and ensure my team’s collection efforts produce consistent revenue for Fastly, I’ve learned to rely on eight habits that help me stay focused and intentional in my daily work.

1. Commit to mindfulness.

Every morning, I complete a three- to five-minute breathing and stretching routine to achieve a positive frame of mind before work begins. I repeat that routine throughout the day, especially after a stressful call with a customer. Not only does this rejuvenate me, but it also helps to combat the sedentary nature of working from home.

2. Stay connected.

Those casual, in-person conversations that are vital to collaboration don’t naturally occur when working remotely. You have to make a concerted effort to continue to connect with fellow AR team members and other internal partners. It can be as simple as a quick call or DM to check in or as extensive as a virtual yoga session with your team.

3. Focus on relationships.

People think collections is just about calling customers for payment, but it’s actually about relationships. If you don’t work to build strong relationships with your customers and internal partners, it’s hard to be successful at this job. And it’s not a relationship if you only talk to people when you want something from them. A relationship means routinely asking people about themselves and actively listening to their responses.

4. Share your knowledge.

Internally, I take the time to coach newer teammates on successful collections strategies to improve our revenue generation. Externally, I work to build relationships with customers so that I can share what I learn about them with my internal partners via Tesorio. This helps facilitate a more positive customer experience, which means faster DSO.

5. Optimize your time.

It’s important to identify the top 10 things you want to accomplish every day and focus on them first so that your priorities don’t get lost in the shuffle. For example, I start my day by sending out emails before I respond to incoming ones.

6. Show empathy.

Don’t approach collection calls from a place of you owe us money, which puts customers on the defensive. Instead of assuming their late payment is intentional, you’re far better off approaching your calls from the standpoint of what did we do wrong that made you not pay us.

7. Celebrate each collection.

The sales team typically celebrates their big closings. In reality, deals aren’t closed until the customer pays. That’s why I encourage my AR team to consider themselves an extension of the sales team who need to positively impact the customer experience. And yes, we take a victory lap when we bring in a big payment.

8. Automate wherever possible.

It’s also important to automate as many manual AR tasks as possible, especially the ones that don’t generate revenue.

Want to learn more from this cash flow hero? Check out our Mindful Collections segment, which was a part of Tipalti’s Illuminate conference.