In my career I have seen thousands of cases come through my office and worked with hundreds of clients. I have testified in hundreds of lawsuits and the one thing that seems to show up in every case is a lack of information. The solution seems easy just get more information from customers!! Or is it that easy? Customers are much more suspicious of businesses these days and simply asking for someone????????s personal information may offend them or worse scare them away.
The solution is a matter of diligence! The dictionary defines ??????diligence?????? as ??????steady and careful application?????? or ??????proper attention or care??????. We can apply this to our business practices by helping customers understand why you need certain information, for instance if you require a social security number make sure your staff explains why this is important and do not assume the customer will read the form and understand it. If you require a mobile number or if office policy determines you need it explain why and make sure your contract has a disclaimer letting the customer know you or an agent of your office may use that phone number to contact them.
The dictionary????????s definition also refers to ??????diligence?????? as ??????proper attention or care?????? this means (in the billing side of things) that you should not assume any information is accurate even if you have seen the customer a month earlier. You should always confirm or ask the customer to fill out the information each time you see them. Have a new contract signed each time they come see you. The key to being successful at obtaining personal information is the person asking for it must come across as concerned for the customers well being.
Putting together a customer information sheet is not well enough you must provide to the employee in a written document the reasons why the information is important to the company and why it is important for the customer to provide it. Over the years I have worked with many businesses evaluating their billing methods and I have noticed that most of the time the employees have no idea why information is important for the business to obtain. Educate your employees and require them to be diligent.
Good luck and shoot me an email if you have any questions