C2C Resources: How To Handle The Sob-Story From Your Customer When Life Trumps Policy

Posted by on Jun 9, 2013 in Commercial Debt, Negotiation, News | 0 comments

Handling a sob story – What to do when life trumps policy

There are 2 kinds of sob-story customers: The first is the chronic boo-hooer who comes to you time and again about why she can’t stick with your payment policy. (One of these days you’ll need to decide if you should even keep her as a customer since she won’t follow your policy… But that’s another blog post.)

The second type is the one we’re talking about today. She’s the good, long-standing, solid customer who has always followed your policy, but has been broadsided with a truly tough circumstance that’s thrown her into a financial tailspin.

Article reprinted from C2Cresourcesblog.com

We are firm believers in having a payment policy that you stick with. But life sometimes trumps policy … and that’s okay as long as you have all the information you need to make good decisions when bending your own rules to get paid. A payment plan is one way to keep money flowing. Yes, you’ll get paid more slowly than you expected, but it’ll help you retain a good customer while the money trickles in.

How you work out the details of the payment plan depends on who your customer is, what the circumstances are and what concessions you can afford to make. Think big picture here. You need to implement a plan that further builds this customer’s loyalty AND gets you paid as much as is possible. So your first task is to talk.

Sit down with your customer right away. Get the details so you can map out a truly doable plan. How generous you are is contingent upon what you can afford yourself and your own personal feelings about the circumstances as they’ve been presented to you.

In other words: Be fair to yourself AND to your customer. Be generous where you can afford to be, but tighten up on the reigns where you must. Once you’ve arrived at a conclusion, be firm about those payments. If you’re not paid at the agreed upon time, make a phone call immediately. You don’t want the fact that you bent your own rules to be taken lightly. A payment plan shouldn’t be seen as an option to be taken advantage of on a regular basis.

Good customers are worth working with in tough times. They’ll appreciate your willingness to create a plan that works for you both.

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