Everyone has slow paying customers. Their reasons will vary and it can often be hard to pin down which ones are legit. Some may place the blame on other vendors or slow business, while some may simply own up to it and say they will pay as soon as they can. Your dealings with these customers will be tricky, but here are three things to always keep in mind.
Slow Payment over No Payment
Slow payments are almost always preferred to no payment at all. This may seem obvious, but it is an important thing to keep in mind when dealing with these customers. You should avoid sounding too frustrated or saying anything that could ruin your relationships with your customer. Maintaining a good relationship with your customers during a difficult time can go a long way to retaining a customer for the long run. As we will discuss later, striking the right balance between firm and forgiving can be hard, but if done correctly you can both get paid and keep a happy customer.
Firm and Forgiving
You never want to appear weak to your customer, but at the same time appearing to be on their side can go a long way. In many cases, slow paying customers are experiencing poor business themselves and simply cannot afford to pay everyone on time. In these cases, demands and harsh tones will not work because the money is simply not there. Instead, it is better to be understanding and attempt to work out a plan that suits both parties.
Do not be afraid of change
If an arrangement with a customer is not working, do not be afraid to alter it or even end it. If you find that a customer is consistently paying late, it might be best to work on extending the amount of time they have to pay or simply limiting the amount they can purchase on credit. In some cases, ending the arrangement may be best for both parties. Working with your customers is important but not at the expense of consistently losing money and time.
Slow paying customers are never fun to deal with, but if managed correctly you can use it to your advantage to build loyalty and help your customers along the way.