There’s no doubt about it- it can be seriously frustrating when a client doesn’t pay as promised. However, the answer is rarely to get overly aggressive. Of course, there are some “bad eggs” who you should just send packing, but there are also clients who have the potential to be long-term, great clients and who have just forgotten a due date or fallen a little behind in their bills. It’s important for you to know which customers are which and to carefully consider whether each situation is one that should end in a “make up” or a “break up.”
Make Up: They Got Back on Track
If a client has been late a time or two but immediately paid when warned, he or she deserves another chance. Everybody forgets due dates from time to time or falls on rough financial circumstances. As long as your client rights the wrong pretty quickly, however, it’s really no big deal and definitely not a “break up” situation.
Break Up: Late Payments are a Constant Problem
What about those clients who are always late- the ones who only pay up when the situation gets desperate? These clients are a lot different than the ones who have an occasional slip-up and are typically more trouble than they’re worth. If the only thing you can count on with a particular client is that he or she is going to be a problem each month, it’s time to say good-bye.
Make-Up: They’re in Constant Contact with You
As mentioned, everyone goes through rough financial spots. If a client calls you the minute he hits one of these spots, however, to let you know what’s going on and when you can expect payment, that’s a pretty good indication that you should be flexible and willing to work with him or her.
Break-Up: You Have to Play Detective
Are you constantly playing phone tag with a defaulted client? Maybe your collections professionals have even gotten hung up on or treated poorly. If you are always having to hunt down a late payer, then you’re doing more than your fair share, and it’s time to send the client packing.