There are customers who can’t make payment, and they’ll tell you so.
There are customers who can’t make payment, and they hide.
Here’s what I tell my customers who hide: “I cannot keep your bills open on my books.”
It always surprises and disappoints me when a customer doesn’t get it.
How communication works—and what happens when it doesn’t
I will always “work with” any of my clients’ customers. By that I mean, I’ll figure out an arrangement that gets my client paid in the quickest way possible. I do this to avoid using a collection agency to collect the outstanding debt.
But, sometimes, that’s not possible.
I recently turned an account over to a collection agency after a month of leaving messages for the customer (which were never returned) in addition to sending emails (which were also never replied to).
But, even at that point, I didn’t give up.
I sent a certified collection letter. Then I left one last message. And finally, I turned the account over.
Not even 24 hours later, I received an email from the customer, with an explanation as to why they hadn’t responded to me and offering me a payment plan and credit card.
At that point, it was just too late. It was in the hands of the collection agency.
Interestingly, this same customer was simultaneously telling the collections agency they didn’t know they owed me money.
Gee, maybe if they’d listened to their voicemails or opened their email once in a while. Or, for that matter, opened their monthly statements. (I email statements out for my client. Part of AK Collections being an extension of my client’s AR department.)
I give fair warning to delinquent customers: Once I turn them over to a collection agency, I don’t want to hear from them. I tell them the collection agency will be contacting them shortly with demands for payment.
In this recent case, and as has happened many times before, the customer still came back to me. What could I do? I referred them back to the collection agency and said I was sure they’d work something out.
Unfortunately for the customer, working with a collection agency will cost them more than if they’d worked out something with me.
What is your last contact to a customer before you turn them over for collection?
Please visit AK Collections Services web site to learn more about my collection services. www.akcollectionsservices.com