Nudging Your Way to Payment

By Peter Bredlau, an EO New Jersey member and president of Quality Service Associates, Inc.

In the current economy, getting paid can be tough. With more and more customers postponing payments, business owners are adopting new methods to receive their payments and stay afloat. The problem is, if they push their slow payers too hard, they will risk losing customers. if they don’t push at all, they will never get paid.

In my experience, sometimes it comes down to a tap on the shoulder as opposed to strong-arming people into paying. As President of Quality Service Associates Inc., a heating and air-conditioning company, I started seeing more customers paying late over in the middle of the year, which has had a significant impact on my ability to keep up with vendors. In fact, more than half of my company’s clientele are currently overdue on their payments.

How did I remedy this situation? When it came to longtime customers, I made it a point to handle the late payments myself. With customers who weren’t paying on time, an accounts-receivable clerk chased the money. Ultimately, those who didn’t pay lost the ability to make emergency calls to their service department. When the customer tried to call, the call was intercepted by the accounts-receivable clerk, who then told them to have a check ready when the technician showed up.

It’s not the perfect solution, but it works. And in this topsy-turvy economy, businesses can’t afford to aggressively pursue slow payers. Sometimes all it takes is a simple nudge to help customers get up to speed on their accounts. A little nudge and a little patience.

Categories: Best Practices

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