One thing many companies get wrong when dealing with this type of customer is being too complacent. They will obtain a promise to pay a past due invoice from their customer and wait for the money to arrive. This course of action does you no favours and can lead to your broken promise issue getting worse. The way to alleviate this is to handle your customer professionally but firmly. Let them know the consequences of breaking the promise, such as interest and finance charges, sending their past due invoice to a collection agency
, or legal action. If there are repercussions like these it will make your customer understand you are serious about getting that past due invoice paid.
Being that this account is your customer’s responsibility and they’ve broken many payment promises to you, it’s not up to you to have to follow up multiple times with them regarding the past due invoice. When they make that promise be sure to let them know that you won’t follow up if they break it. If they break this one escalate your efforts to recoup the past due amount of the invoice. After this, though it’s up to you to follow through on your promise of further collection activity; be it additional charges like interest, contacting a collection agency, or taking them to small claims court.
You’ve contacted your customer, they made and then broke multiple payment promises, it’s now up to you to keep your promise; this is when being consistent with these customers is critical. If you told them interest charges would begin to accrue, start charging interest. If you said you’d send the account to a third party collection agency
, do it. By doing exactly what you said you would you will demonstrate to your customer that you are in fact serious about recovering the past due invoice. This is where having an overdue account process comes in handy because if it’s in writing you are much more likely to use it.
Finally, you have to know when to reach out for help when you’ve done all you can do with the customer. Yes, your customer shows willingness to pay, but they are not following through. Some customers use promises as a stall tactic while others have no intention to pay. It’s at this time that you might want to consider using a third party collection agency. For some customers, only a collection call from a collection recovery professional
will spur them to pay their past due invoice.
Collection agencies have access to resources designed to prevent such stall tactics that you may not have, and they can have great success as a result. There is no magic pill you can take to prevent repeated broken promises on a past due invoice. The best bet you have is to call them and set a firm payment promise. Let your customer know that you won’t follow up, but if they again break their promise there are consequences. If they break that promise make sure you follow through and escalate the recovery process just like you said you would, be it: interest, contacting a third party collection agency, or legal action. Remember the key to preventing broken promises is being consistent with each one.