Receivable/Accounts - Information for Credit and Collection Issues

Friday, March 17, 2017

Collection Shorthand Notes




Back in the stone age (the 80’s?), when we wrote on index cards collectors had to keep concise collection notes, and shorthand and acronyms developed.  And later, when we migrated to the first primitive collection databases, space and monitor screen was still at a premium, so that shorthand code remained – today with modern databases, we can write a virtual novel for collection notes, but it’s far more efficient to continue to use shorthand.  Why?  Because a brief note can be quickly read later, when the file comes up again, and we don’t need to spend 5 minutes between each collection file typing out a report.

Sometimes, a short note is all that’s needed:

TEL 905-555-1212 LMOM – URGENT

You can see we have the important information (what number we called), an acronym (LMOM for “Left Message On Machine”, which clearly shows my age here), and a one word note to convey the kind of message left.

Sometimes the note should be a combination of shorthand and longhand:

DB C/B FROM 905-555-1212 WANTS TO MAKE PMT NEXT FRI 3/24 PAYDAY AT ACME CO IN BURLINGTON GAVE PAD INFO

So you have some acronyms (DB for “debtor”, C/B for “called back”, and you have full descriptions of things that don’t fit easily into shorthand, but the note is still fundamentally short.
And in some cases, a short note simply won’t do.

LWYR FRANK JONES C/B FROM 905-555-1313 IS REPRESENTING DB DISPUTES DEBT CLAIMS PRODUCT NEVER RECEIVED WILL FAX NOTICE OF REPRESENTATION AND SEND BY REGISTERED MAIL, ADVISED NO FURTHER CALLS TO DB DIRECT ALL CORRESPONDANCE TO HIM --  ADV LWYR THAT WE HAVE SIGNED DELIVERY SLIP WE WILL HAPPILY PROVIDE, LWYR WILL REVIEW WITH CLT & C/M/B

I believe there are a few cardinal rules when making a collection note, to help everyone down the road:

* Whenever you make a call, note the phone number!  If there are multiple numbers on file, it keeps it clear what number you dialed.

* When you receive an inbound call, always note the phone number on the inbound call display, you may gain useful information such as a place of employment number or cell phone.

* If your call involves a date, deadline or consequence note it!  And don’t just put ‘next Friday’, put the date

* keep your shortforms simple so your notes can be understood by your co-workers and clients

* when you talk to anyone who isn’t noted on the file, make a note of their name (ie. LM W/SPOUSE SUSAN)

Every collection agency is different, and is going to have a different set of shorthand codes, but here is a short list of useful ones that we typically use.  It doesn’t need to be a long list, and can be flexible by common sense (ie CHQ for cheque, etc).

Shorthand
Meaning
Example
BK
Bankrupt
TEL 905-555-1212 DB SK BK 9/15 W/BDO 416-555-1313
DB
Debtor
TEL 905-555-1212 DB SZ W/PAY 3/15
DB2
Second debtor/guarantor
TEL 905-555-1212 DB SZ TT DB2 LM TO HAVE C/B
C/B
Called back
WOMAN C/B FROM 905-555-1212 SZ WRG#
C/M/B
Call me back
TEL 905-555-1212 LMOM – 4TH MSG C/M/B!
CLT
Client
DAVE @CLT C/B SZ ACCT PD 3/2
CRBU
Credit bureau
PULLED CRBU SHOWS POE ACME CO 905-555-1313
DDLN
Deadline
TEL 905-555-1212 DB ADV DDLN TOMORROW
DKD
Don’t know debtor
TEL 905-555-1212 WOMAN SZ WRG# DKD
EOM
End of month
TEL 905-555-1212 DB GIVEN DDLN EOM
EOW
End of week
TEL 905-555-1212 DB PAYDAY IS EOW W/C/B
INB
Inbound Call
INB 905-555-1212 DB SZ GOT LTTR, WILL TT BANK & C/B
LM
Left message
TEL 905-555-1212 LM W/SPOUSE SUSAN FOR DB
LMOM
Left message on machine
TEL 905-555-1212 LMOM – 5TH MSG, C/B!
MR
Mail returned
MR SZ DB MOVED NO FWDG ADDRESS
NA
No answer
TEL 905-555-1212 NA (15:13)
NIS
Not in service
TEL 905-555-1212 NIS
NLWT
No longer works there
TEL POE 905-555-1313 SPOKE TO HR FRANK SZ DB NLWT
PAD
Pre authorized debit
TEL 905-555-1212 DB SET UP PAD EVERY 7TH
PIF
Paid in full
TEL 905-555-1212 DB W/PIF TOMORROW BY PAD
PPA
Partial payment arrangement
TEL 905-555-1313 DB OFFERS PPA $50/MO EVERY 15TH
PRP
Promise Payment
TEL 905-555-1313 DB PRP FRI 3/15 BY MAIL
POE
Place of employment
TEL POE 905-555-1313 LM W/COWORKER FRED
SIF
Settlement in full
TEL 905-555-1212 DB OFFERS SIF $3000 BY EOM
TEL
Telephoned
TEL 905-555-1414 DB SZ W/PAY NEXT WEEK
W/C/B
Will call back
TEL 905-555-1313 DB HORRIFIED IN COLLECTIONS W/C/B W/PPA

As always, if anyone has any questions about good collection techniques, or has some excellent shortforms to pass on to add to this list, I’m always happy to chat.  Feel free to drop me an email or give me a call.

Thanks kindly,

Blair DeMarco-Wettlaufer
KINGSTON Data & Credit
Cambridge, Ontario
226-946-1730