Sometimes it happens. It could be a long-time client with whom you have a great relationship or a new customer you hardly know. They miss their due date, they break promises and now they are not even responding. What do you do? In today’s business environment, you don’t want to risk losing any client – but are they really a client if they are not paying you?
One tactic you could consider is litigation. However, that would most certainly alienate your customer and you may risk losing them altogether – not to mention the incurred time and expense on your part. Plus, after suing, you still may not be any better off than you were. You could bombard them with calls and letters, but that takes time away from your business and your client may adopt the “get in line” response, inviting you to wait for your money like everyone else.
Perhaps a better way is a collaborative approach. This could utilize your skills to determine the nature of the issue and continue to work with your customer to resolve the account. You do so in a way that lets them know you appreciate their business and regardless of what has happened you want them to remain your customer. Many businesses today have found their skills are elsewhere and employ a third-party expert knowledgeable in negotiations to handle their accounts in this manner.
Sometimes a third-party who does not have the emotional ties to the transaction is better suited to bring the account to a conclusion and save them as a client. At Transworld Systems Commercial Division, we call this the “audit” approach.
Whether on your own or with a third-party, know that your clients what the same thing you do: to be heard, understood and treated as a professional. If you keep this in mind you will retain more of your receivables and more of your clients.
What’s Your Take?
Have you tried either (or both) of the approaches described above in your collection efforts? How did they work for your organization, and which one would you recommend for other businesses? Share your thoughts using the comment field below!