Questions & Answers
Creditors’ Rights 39
Q: A customer who usually pays on time has fallen behind on his payments. He is a good client and I’m hoping that he just may have forgotten. I would like to call him but I am unsure of how I should approach this situation. Should I wait a few extra days to see if the payment is in the mail?
A: Collection is a process, not an event. A company should act on collecting their debts during the first 90 days after the due date. It’s the greatest window of opportunity for the company. Add that to the typical 30-day grace period and the window is a mere 120 days – four short months from invoice. Here is one suggestion for acting quickly on late payments.
Customer service call – call the customer within a week after delivery, but before payment is due. Separate and apart from the goodwill it engenders, this call has several important purposes. It opens a discussion about whether the product conforms to the customer’s order, and can avoid a later claim by the customer that they did not get what they ordered. The customer will have the ability to air any problems with the shipment or product and it will also serve as a reminder to the customer when the payment in full is to be expected. You are just letting the customer know that you are closely following the transaction and will be expecting timely payment. Be sure to document the contact, as well as the customer’s comments, in the customer’s file or in the comment section of your billing software.
*Learn more about credit policies and the Payment Gap with Bob Bernstein’s new book, Get P.A.I.D.TM A Guide to Getting Paid Faster (and What to Do if You Don’t!) at www.getpaidsystem.com