In a previous post we shared 6 WAYS TO SPEED UP YOUR CASH FLOW. As any business knows, no matter what service you provide or how easy you make it for your customers to pay you, it is inevitable that you will someday have to do some sort of collections on delinquent accounts. So today we are here to shed some light on trying to collect on a delinquent account while also repairing your relationship with the delinquent customer.
One of the toughest things to do while collecting on a delinquent account is to repair the relationship with the customer that may have been tarnished due to the delinquency. By making the effort to repair the relationship, you encourage continued patronage and the potential addition of new services or products. But something that can be gained from repairing a customer relationship, that is even more powerful than an upgrade in service or new product purchase, is a positive customer experience that leads to future referrals.
When you are trying to collect on a delinquent customer account, you tend to walk a fine line between being too pushy and being too much of a push over. In your eyes, the eyes of the business, the delinquent account balance is your money, which you earned, and you should have but the customer is keeping from you. And while this may be correct, if you start the collection process with that mentality you may end up collecting the balance, but you run the risk of pushing the customer relationship to a point of no repair. While the last thing you want to do is to waste your time by being too nice and gain nothing but a “happy” delinquent customer.
There is a good chance that your delinquent customer may have just misplaced or forgot about your bill. Heck we all live busy lives and things will sometimes fall into the cracks. So when you are first reaching out to your delinquent customers keep in mind that they probably aren’t out to screw you over and just need a gentle and kind reminder. When you are able to offer to help the customer set up a payment over the phone or waive a fee, if there are any, the customer will see this as you helping them and they will remember that in a positive way. On the other side of the same coin, if on your first contact you are just demanding money or threatening the customer with further collections, they will remember that too, but in a not so positive way.
Because every business is different and so are the types of delinquencies and collections methods used, it is likely that not every collection call will be the same. In fact you may even find that you have some of the same customers who habitually show up on your collections reports. It is easy to become less patient and more aggressive with these “repeat offenders”, but in the end the goal should always be the same; collect your money and repair the customer relationship.
So what methods have you or your company used that have been successful in collecting on a delinquent account while also repairing a customer relationship? Have you ever had a delinquent or negative standing account turnaround and become a great advocate for you or your company due to a positive collection effort? We would love to hear from you, please leave a comment and let us know.