One of the most difficult and frustrating tasks for a business owner or manager is calling a customer that is late on a payment. In most cases, these late payment calls push you outside of your normal comfort zone, and because of that lack of confidence these calls get placed at the very bottom of the to-do list. But without on-time payments, you risk missing your own bills and keeping your company functioning efficiently.
Below are 5 tips that can help you become more successful and confident when dealing with late payers.
Tip #1 – Make sure you are prepared before making the call.
Think about common excuses that a customer might use for not paying back your business or service and practice a response. Make sure you continually expand this list to be as prepared as possible for every late payment call.
Tip #2 – Arm yourself with facts about the late account.
Before making any late payment call, it is critical to understand all the specifics related to the account and even why it might be late in the first place. Having all the information in front of you during the call will ensure that you never lose control; if you have to say “I’ll get back to you about that” you will have to start from square one when you call them back with the correct information.
Tip #3 – Be positive and professional with each call made.
It can be easy to get frustrated or angry with a customer, but keeping your composure when you explain the facts you have prepared in Tip 2 is essential to them understanding the effect of their lateness, and the importance of paying now. In addition, if you still want them as your customer, you’ll need to take a friendly and positive approach to keep the relationship intact.
Tip #4 – Always be focused on finding a solution.
When a call does not end in a commitment from your customer, it should be considered a wasted call. You might not be able to get them to make the payment in full but make sure you get a promise of something during the call. This can include a partial payment, a date when the payment will be made, or a payment plan. Make sure you summarize what was discussed and agreed upon during this call as well as your expectations and the consequences if expectations are not meet. Follow up on the commitment or they will never take you seriously.
Tip #5 – Customize your payment process to promote payments.
While this tip might not be directly related to late payment calls, it might have the most impact because it can cut down on the actual number of calls that need to be made. If the payment process for your customers is simple this will increase the likelihood of them making those payments on time. Here are a few questions to ask yourself about your current process.
- Is the payment process consistent so that your customers know where to find the payment information and make payments on time?
- Are you providing all the information needed for your customer to make the payment?
- Do you provide multiple methods to pay either online through a web payment form or in-person with a mobile swiper?
Following and implementing the tips above will help you be more successful and confident when dealing with late payment calls, but unfortunately there is no magic wand that can be waved to make every customer pay. You must remember that every customer is different and what was successful with one customer might get you nowhere with another. Always keep control and make sure you listen carefully to what your customer is saying so you can handle the situation accordingly.
Learn more about this, and other tips to handling late payments in our eBook – Your Ticket to On-Time Payments.