If you have spent any time reading our blog or viewing our many videos, one thing you’ll take away is that the best way to collect a debt from a customer is to be nice. While we do understand that’s not the only factor in getting your customers to pay, it is one of the foundations in getting people current in their obligations to your business. And it is never more important than during the holidays.
There are so many things going on in our lives during the holidays.
For one, we have all those holiday obligations. One the personal side, we have shopping to do, we need to attend our children’s holiday concerts and school parties and we may even throw a party ourselves for friends. And on the business side, we have our year-end duties such as budgeting, planning for next year, staff reviews and so many other parts of operating a business.
And then of course we have all the spending going on during the holidays which cannot be a surprise to anyone. All this leaves us with an extremely busy and distracting time of the year. Which can lead to all kinds of reasons you’re not seeing cash come through the door.
How do I collect debt during the holidays?
First, recognize that not everyone is trying to avoid you. As we mentioned, and you should be well aware of, these are busy times and it’s probably not just bill paying that your customers are behind in. The holidays place many more hours of activity and commitments on our plates and many people will undoubtedly miss something during this season. Could be a bill, could be a meeting. But in short, we are all busy. So take that into consideration when trying to collect payments.
Once again, if you know us, you know that regardless of the time of year, we always advocate for you being nice to people. Getting upset, raising your voice or creating unrealistic demands do not work anymore. In fact, they may never have. You have to treat your customers with tact, be fair and you need to treat them with dignity. Train your staff to use a non-threatening tone when they contact your customers and teach them to not be intimidating. Always use a welcoming voice and show that you understand their situation. And never get angry.
You never know what type of situation you are going to encounter when you call a customer that has not paid you. You may think you know your customer but you may find a very different story when you reach out to ask them to pay you. There is pressure on certain families during the holidays. More so than the rest of the year. A family that is struggling for example that still needs to provide certain items and gifts for their children may be overcommitted in their finances. You need to take these possible situations into consideration when making contact.
You need to be understanding and respectful. We just went through that. It makes all the difference in the world. But you also need to stay firm even during the holiday season. The customer did ask you for services and they do owe you the money for what you provided. And that can’t be lost in all of this. You can be firm with your customers and still be nice and understanding all at the same time. Find ways to make it work for both parties. Maybe you need to give them a little more time or you can try to set them up with a payment plan. It’s entirely up to you how you want to resolve the past due account. But, you can be respectful and firm at the same time.
Manage your reputation
If you need help in this area, there are nice debt collectors out there. And there are collection agencies that understand that treating everyone with respect is the way to be far more effective in collecting money. And if you need that assistance, you can find it because the industry is taking notice that old ways of doing business do not work.
The last thing you need is to appear to have a lack of ethics and understanding around the holiday season. While the customer does need to pay you, how you handle that, especially during the holidays can go a long way in keeping your customers and managing your reputation with others.
Happy Holidays from everyone here at American Profit Recovery!