Putting the customer first — even when asking for payment

Putting the customer first — even when asking for payment

When CCR (Credit Collection and Risk) Magazine hit the desks at A R M HQ earlier this year, an article by Diane McLellan got us all talking because it was on a topic that’s close to hearts — putting the customer first. Money conversations can be really difficult — as humans, we aim to please and we can be quite reserved when it comes to asking for payment.

And whilst the collection industry is evolving and moving towards a service-led style of thinking, there is still a lot to be done.

As Diane points out, referring to ‘customers’ instead of ‘debtors’ is a great start, but just one small part of a truly customer-centric approach.  Part of the challenge is to remove the stigma attached to being in debt. Increasingly, businesses understand that their clients aren’t withholding payment out of malice or bad practice; in fact, they are quite sensibly maximising their cash flow. When we recognise that, we can start to move away from stiff, legal-sounding letters and move towards a friendlier, more personalised approach.

Whether you deal with end consumers or trade customers, the number-one question remains the same: do you put your customers first when asking for payment?

  • Have you used the same letter for years? If so, check it isn’t packed with over-complicated industry jargon, and make sure it has a clear call for action.
  • Do you use other forms of communication and follow up with a phone call to find out the reason for non-payment?
  • Is your approach to make a post-sales follow-up call or an “I want my money” call? And is this approach likely to enhance customer relationships or destroy them?

For advice on how to craft customer-friendly credit-control communications and processes, why not drop me an email or give me a call on 01628 487849?

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