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Successful Debt Collection

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 10, 2007

A key to successful debt collection is the assumption that most people are honest and want to pay you. That means you need to treat customers with respect during the collection process.

Start by trying to find out why a customer is not paying. Has he fallen on hard times—a lost job or ill health? Or is he withholding payment because your product was faulty or your service was poor? Make sure to be a good listener. When you understand the situation, you can come up with solutions that will help the customer pay you. Keep a customer’s total payment history in mind. If she has paid on time over the years, don’t jump on her with a collection call the first time she’s late.

Finally, remember that friendliness will help a customer want to pay you first.

Ken Yancey
Washington, D.C.

Reader Comments


July 20, 2008 2:11 AM

Good advice. Now what do you do about a customer who is rude and flat out refuse to pay?


February 12, 2009 5:03 PM

If the debtor refuses to pay, MOVE ON. You could be taking calls of debtor's who DO want to pay. Say what you have to say, deadline, and move on. Don't make it personal. They will eventually pay if they care about their credit.


December 18, 2009 3:00 PM

Threatening customers like most businesses do is not a good policy. I believe that "friendly reminders" work best. What I do is record customers birthdays, and if they owe me money I will mail them a small note wishing them happy birthday and reminding them of the debt. It works about 60% on delinquent payments

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