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Collecting Overdue Payments From Customers

April 1, 2014

Business advice for women entrepreneurs

Past-due-Files

“Learn to feel and show empathy for your client’s situation in a non-judgmental way,” is the quote on this morning’s business calendar. The quotation resonated with me this week after speaking with a few women entrepreneurs about their struggles to collect revenue from customers.

One woman in particular has been challenged the past year to collect payments from a long time client who produces 30% of her annual revenue. With a soft market, this entrepreneur doesn’t want to lose this vital income yet her impatience with her client is increasing. After calling me angry and in need of advice, I suggested she step away from her irritated thoughts, pick up the phone and set a date to take her client to lunch. I advised her to use the luncheon to discuss the issue in person displaying a non-judgmental attitude during the conversation. Sometimes there are unknown circumstances about clients we aren’t aware of until we embark on a discussion with them. An honest face-to-face talk is the best way to gather information and communicate our needs..

As easy as it is to send a text, email and voice mail message, those communication methods don’t repair short or long term tension that needs to be rectified. It takes a more assertive and personal approach. But a tough client meeting should always be handled with diplomacy for the sake of the relationship. Being empathic about a customer’s reasons for consistent late payments is the best approach if maintaining the relationship is of utmost importance to the entrepreneur.

Today’s blog post is to encourage you to set a personal appointment with vital customers when an important situation needs to be discussed. The meeting might be because you need to increase fees, address late payment issues, discuss miscommunication or hash out an ongoing problem. We owe it to ourselves and our clients to handle big problems in person. As tough as it can be, it’s the right way to resolve issues.

Being empathic means we have the ability to identify with and understand somebody else’s feelings or difficulties. Don’t forget the periods when others have been empathic with you and set up a time to deal with customer problems honestly and in person.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 1, 2014 5:06 pm

    Very good advice here Tracy. I have run into this problem in the past. What I have found is that by understanding my client’s situation and working as a team to rectify the problem, I have gained a loyal, and long term customer. I will be sharing this!

    Like

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