SSI Consulting

Handling Customer Invoices and Collections with Class

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We all have those customers that either forget to pay their invoices or ignore you for another undesirable reason. No one likes a confrontation or asking to be paid. For some people, being asked to pay a bill is insulting and can result in defensive behaviors. So how can you collect money from these customers without blowing up at them and losing your cool? Here are a few guidelines to follow and ensure the process goes as smooth as possible:

  • Understand the negotiation process. Be more effective by realizing that negotiations are a process. It requires an understanding of the billing, credit approval and payment processes.
  • Focus on a win-win solution. Look for opportunities to help your customers solve problems. They also know when to be firm and limit what they do in order to reach an agreement that is acceptable for both parties.
  • Be patient. The quick fix is sometimes more desirable, but not in the long run. Take the time to gather information before contacting customers, and think carefully about possible solutions. This could be the critical step that helps you avoid the major mistakes you make when you rush.
  • Be confident. Confidence is key to successful collecting, but don’t make the mistake of being arrogant, rude or cocky. The truest confidence is demonstrated by your belief in your ability to reach a win-win agreement with the customer. This confidence is gained through experience, and the more debt collections you do, the better you become at it.
  • Develop your listening skills. People will tell you just about everything you need to know if you ask the right questions or keep quiet long enough. The two biggest mistakes a collector can make are not listening or interrupting a customer. Sometimes all it takes is listening a little longer to get key information that will assist in your collection efforts.

Being a successful bill collector is a skill that takes time, effort and energy. Follow the guidelines above and you’ll be on the right track. SSi Consulting is a Gold-Certified partner serving customers in the Mid-Atlantic area offering hosted Microsoft Dynamics® GP and Microsoft Dynamics® SL at very low monthly rates.

By Bill Aiton with SSi Consulting, Mid Atlantic Microsoft Partner

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