The credit and collections staff historically has a combative relationship with the sales department, since the sales staff sometimes pushes for high-risk sales that the credit and collections group does not want to collect. However, these two groups possess a great deal of knowledge about customers, and both parties can learn from each other. A good way to do so is to schedule a monthly conference call for both departments to discuss customers.
The agenda should include topics of interest to both departments, so one group will not think it is handing over information and receiving nothing in exchange. For example, the credit and collections staff can discuss collection problems with specific customers, while the sales staff can address large upcoming sales for which they’d like to receive advance credit approval. To be even more fair, a manager from each department can take turns coordinating the discussion in successive conference calls.
To keep the discussion focused, an agenda should cover such ongoing topics as collection problems, credit requests, transaction errors, capital purchases needed to improve operations, and the status of outstanding problems from the previous conference call.
It may also be useful to bring in representatives from the customer support department, who can possibly offer additional insights about customer issues.