When it comes to collecting money from customers, my company...

Christina Lewellen
June 20, 2007
THE TALK...
The Talk, Page 2...

 Survey Results for 06/20/2007:

When it comes to collecting money from customers, my company...

...has policies for the general population, but will make exceptions for creative payment approaches

 

 

42%

 

...takes each relationship on a case-by-case basis, allowing for flexibility with outstanding balanc

 

 

39%

 

...takes the “tough love” approach, with across-the-board policies and non-payment repercussions.

 

 

19%

 

 
Asking about payment policies is like asking about parenting techniques, apparently. Our discussion from last week regarding whether or not you sit on customers for the money they owe you split the field of industry respondents. Though the results were pretty close as far as surveys go, the “tough love” approach to parenting—I mean, payment collection—with across-the-board policies and non-payment repercussions for all customers came in last at roughly 20 percent. The rest of you play favorites, with 42 percent of respondents falling into the category of having payment policies but taking creative approaches with preferred customers, and 39 percent taking each customer on a case-by-case basis, allowing for flexibility with payment approaches.

So the way I see it, 80 percent of respondents is at risk for getting burned by a non-paying customer—let’s just hope you’re not dancing to the tune of $1.3 million like Stock Building Supply (click here for that story)—but apparently this is the norm for the industry.

One reader, still charred with a recent burning, emailed me this week to say he doesn’t care if “everybody else is doing it,” he’s done with soft approaches to getting his money from customers.

“We have several court cases ongoing with deadbeat customers that have strung us along for as little as $800 and as much as $30,000. We let a very good customer slide up to almost $50,000 and then they closed their doors. He called us the day he closed and told us he was not going to pay and the bank had everything. ‘Sorry for your luck,’ is what he said. I believe now in tough love. With this industry—some customers stay and some are fly-by-night—we should all play the tough love game.”

To keep the discussion rolling and tell me the woes or successes of your payment policy approaches, email me.

Contact Christina Lewellen, senior editor, at clewellen@glass.org.