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Your bill is past due

September 24, 2011

The difficult conundrum of how to deal with customers billing issues is an immensely perplexing concern for all business. All a customer’s vulnerabilities are exposed at the moment payment is needed. This is a classic business “Catch-22”. How do you ask for payment (particularly when it is past due) from customers and keep good relations with them?  As a business, you always strive to make the customer comfortable but you of course need to receive payments. Here are some common examples of how asking for a payment can become far more of a problem then the late pay itself.

First mistake many people make while asking for payment asking for it the second the customer walks into the room. Get a feel for what the customer’s mood is before asking for the payment. If a customer seems to be in a good mood you can slip the questions in the conversation. For example you can say, “I’m glad you had a great weekend, by the way, did you guys happen to get a new expiration date? This one seems to have not worked.” This is one of my favorites.

Another mistake people make while asking for payment is asking with too much company. Think about your customers surroundings. If they brought friends or family to your place of business wait until you have a moment alone with them. You will always embarrass someone if you ask for money in front of their friends and family.

Finally, NEVER use terms such as, rejected, declined, or you have inefficient funds.   Yes these are all common phrases to use when a payment is overdue; they are far to pejorative for the common ear. In the end, the customer knows exactly why a payment did not go through, the last thing they want to hear is, they cannot budget their money, or they were declined. Be sensitive to the fact that most people are always worried about money, and money is a key factor is most angry customers

Think about the emotions and feelings you feel the next time someone asks you for money especially when you don’t have the money readily available.

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