People that don’t pay their bills on time are the bane of most account managers’ existences. Hunting delinquent customers down, discussing the problem, and extracting the funds can be a long, tedious process. You wind up wasting hours (or even days) of valuable work just to deal with a handful of negligent accounts.
Don’t let late accounts and payments waste any more of your time than they need to. Here are some tips for handling delinquent customers and obtaining their late payments without sacrificing your own productivity.
1. List Your Late Payment Fees and Consequences in the Contract
First and foremost, you want your customers to know exactly when their payments are due and what the consequences will be if they miss that date. These details should be stated explicitly in their contract from day one. That way, you can point to a signed document that indicates the schedule, terms, deadlines, and late payment policy.
In the event that your non-payers hire a lawyer in an effort to get out of paying, this carefully written contract can save you a lot of money. Plus, it will ensure that there’s no gray area for delinquents to weasel around.
2. Automate the Process
It’s usually a long, drawn-out process to first contact the delinquent, call them repeatedly, ask them to pay, and then follow up on the situation (probably multiple times). Fortunately, several aspects of this ridiculous process can be automated to save you time and energy.
For example, think about leasers that don’t pay their leasing fees on time. Those are especially difficult to deal with, but leasing software has made the process easier for all leasing businesses. Debt management features allow users to easily monitor accounts that haven’t paid, then take actions and log them in the system accordingly.
No matter what field you’re in, don’t waste your time and your coworkers’ tracking down late-payers over and over again. Look into industry-specific software that can help you speed things up and improve productivity without giving up on missed payments.
3. Decide What’s Worth More: Your Time or the Client’s Money
Sometimes, but not all of the time, clients can be so difficult to work with that you’re better just off forgetting about them. For example, if most of your clients are paying thousands each month, but one small client is skipping their $50 fee regularly, you might want to cut your losses. You don’t want to waste too much time and energy on one small client.
On the flip side, you certainly don’t want to give up on a case that’s clearly winnable. It’s all about evaluating the situation to decide if the client’s payments are worth pursuing. Weigh the costs and benefits to determine which course of action saves you the most money in the long run.
Dealing with delinquent accounts is a huge hassle, especially for hardworking account managers. However, you can make the process easier on your entire team by refusing to play the typical “call-a-million-times” game.
Automate the system as best as you can and remove any gray area from all of your policies about how late payments will be handled. Learn when to cut your losses and when to pursue the payments, and above all else, don’t sacrifice your own work productivity in the name of punishing a late payer.