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How to Chase a Late Payment without Losing a Valued Customer

So your customer isn’t paying their bills but you don’t want to annoy them by hassling for payment because you want to keep them as a valued customer. Recognise the dilemma?

That valued client of yours is good for your business but the only trouble is getting them to actually pay up. The last thing you want to do is annoy them when chasing your money in case they decide to walk. So what can you do?

There’s always a reason why they haven't paid when you do get round to calling them and it sounds plausible. They didn’t receive your invoice, or you sent it to the wrong part of the company. The person who signs off the payments is on holiday. Didn’t you get the cheque we sent you? Oh yes, we’ve heard them all and more besides. We wrote about all these excuses here.

Underlying all this though is the fundamental fact that you provided them with the goods or service, and now they aren’t keeping their side of the bargain by paying you on time. Effectively, you are financing their business and that wasn’t part of the deal.

The way forward is to keep it professional and business-like, never let it get emotional (even when it is), never let it get confrontational, its just making sure everyone sticks to the rules and does what they should, when they should.

All of that is so much easier when you have an experienced credit controller doing it for you. They know what the rules are, they know how to get to the right people, they know all those professional and courteous techniques that are guaranteed to get results. Perhaps the biggest advantage though is that it isn’t you doing the job.

This last point can be so key.

It de-personalizes the process. While you get on with all the positive parts of the relationship, like getting more business with the client, exceeding their expectations, all that stuff that binds the relationship to your advantage and keeps the sales invoices flowing. In the background, you have hired a professional to calmly get you invoices paid when they should be. From the client’s point of view, you are sticking to what you do best, and have hired a quality partner to deploy their professional expertise.

It's not aggressive and its not nasty, its just quietly effective. Nobody expects you to do your own tax computations and annual returns; you hire a professional accountant for that. Nobody expects you to do your own conveyancing when you buy and sell property; we have estate agents and property consultants for that. A professional credit controller is just doing a very effective job of what should be a non-core business activity.

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