You want to keep your hard-earned customers. We thought so!
Sometimes as you well know, customers do not pay. But that does not mean you have to lose that customer. In many cases, something has prevented your customer from paying on time or meeting their financial obligations to your business.
While there are obviously disputes that need to be worked out, sometimes a customer just needs a little time and assistance to get caught up with your business.
If you want to keep your customers in good times and difficult situations, check out our 5 tips for keeping them when they have not paid you yet.
Open the lines of communication
If your business is not getting paid by your customers, it is mission-critical to open communication lines. Not communicating and getting frustrated will never resolve your payment issues with that customer. You should work with your team to establish how and when you will communicate with non-paying customers and stick to that schedule. Of course, pay attention to laws that apply to debt collections.
Just remember, life happens for all of us and the more effective your communication is with those customers that have not paid, can go a long way in keeping that relationship alive. Something as simple as a gentle reminder by phone and even a quick conversation about their satisfaction with the service you provided can go a long way in preserving that relationship.
Be nice when speaking to your customers
Regular communication, as we said, is absolutely critical when customers do not pay. But you and your team must pay particular attention to how you communicate. In short, being nice is one of the best ways to resolve a payment dispute or lack thereof. The tone of your conversation really does matter and it’s important not to come across as aggressive or angry. We know, especially if you’re running a small business, that cash flow is critical and that, in some cases, emotions get the best of us when customers do not pay. But this is one of those points in the relationship with your customer that you must remain calm.
Be flexible with payments when necessary
Having flexibility in the way your customers pay you can be one of the most effective methods of resolving debt. Remember that your customer may have had other unexpected expenses, a change in employment status, or other life events. Being flexible such as offering a payment plan extends a helping hand and shows them that you value the relationship you have built with them. If you have set up a payment arrangement and your customers are sticking to that agreement, that is a great way to nurture that relationship and keep an existing customer.
Follow proper accounts receivables procedures
We cannot understate the importance of having proper accounting procedures in place. This is a foundation for getting your customers to pay and cash flow management. If you do not have a regular and recurring system of invoicing your customers, you will see late payments and delinquencies as a result. This is why it is critical for your business to have an established accounts receivable system regardless of size.
Some of the basics include:
- Capture accurately the services and products provided to customers.
- Customer agreements or contracts where necessary.
- Up-to-date customer information.
- Clear and timely invoicing.
- Credit terms and payment expectations.
- Accounting software and record keeping.
- Monitoring cash flow.
- Regular reporting.
- CPA and bookkeeper.
- Third-party debt collections.
Use the expertise of a debt collection agency
Having a third-party debt collection agency working on your behalf has so many benefits. One of the best ways is to create some urgency around your unpaid invoices and extend a helping hand to customers who may need a way to resolve their debt. You can create urgency and help your customers at the same time. And choosing the right collection agency will help you do just that.
If you’re worried about how your customers may be treated, first ask the right questions. But secondly, understand that the business of debt collections has changed dramatically over the past several years, with a strong focus on diplomacy and tactful communications.
Here, we treat every consumer with the dignity and respect they deserve. We seek to understand their individual situation and we make it clear that we are communicating with them in an effort to help.
If you’re looking for a debt collection agency for your small business or larger company, ask them about their philosophy on treating your customers. Because if your trusted collection agency treats customers the right way, it will improve your chances of keeping your customer for the long term.
Your customer may be experiencing a temporary hardship, and a collection agency can mediate on your behalf and help you maintain that relationship.