When you begin to see the transformation of your loyal customer into a debtor, what do you do? You’ve sent letters, made phone calls but nothing seems to be working. Understanding how important your accounts receivables are, you must realize at moments like this that you have to turn up the heat on your customers. Use the following tactics in your collection recovery to make sure your customers know just how serious you are about getting paid.
Collection Recovery: Turning Up the Heat on Late Paying Customers
1) Move Up the Corporate Ladder
First things first, you need to make sure you are communicating with the person who has the decision making power. If you’re not, you are COMPLETELY wasting your time. Decision makers could be controllers, CFOs, purchasing manager or even the president of the company. Do your research and contact this person immediately. Never hesitate to go over someone’s head. Keep jumping up the ladder, letting the company know you are serious about getting paid. An expert tactic in collection recovery, reaching out to multiple company contacts helps facilitate conversation on their end and without a doubt moves your account higher up their list.
2) Personal Guarantee
As we discussed in our previous post, getting a personal guarantee on your credit application is one of the most crucial steps in collection recovery. However, it is most important that you demand that the head of the company be the person who signs and makes this personal guarantee. By doing so, this gives you the power and reasoning to easily go over others to get to the head of the company. If you have their personal guarantee to fall back on, there should be no issue in reaching out to them. Also, mentioning to your contact that you have that personal guarantee and will not hesitate to contact their boss, sometimes will motivate your contact to work a little bit harder to get to the answer you need.
3) Use the Mail
Although you have most likely already have been sending your customers their invoices by mail, try this alternative: send it as a certified letter. Although it has no legal significance, it creates an impression of importance and urgency. You can also have the same effect by doing same day or overnight courier. It really gets the message across that this is a time sensitive matter.
Collection recovery is all about articulating to your customer how urgently you need to get paid. Using a fax, which immediately appears in the middle of their office and is a unique form of collection recovery communication, is an excellent tactic to get your customer’s attention. You can ask for a timely response (such as 48 hours), which gives you 2 days to confirm if the customer is ignoring you.
5) Collection Agencies
Threatening your customers with sending their accounts to collections is always the most effective step in collection recovery. Handle this interaction diplomatically, though, explaining it is simply part of your company’s policy and that you would like to work with them to help resolve the process to prevent using a third party collector. Your customers will respond to this threat as their accounts being sent to collection agencies means 3 things: a negative affect on their credit score, added collection fees, and your customer losing the opportunity to work with you in paying off the debt.
Collection recovery is a tough path to follow, however, you must always consider that it is your RIGHT to get paid, and by following the above tactics, you are simply stating loudly and clearly to customers how urgent and crucial the situation is. Never hesitate to turn the heat up on late paying customers and utilize the tactics above to get them paying.