A first step to successful debt collection is to assume that most people are honest and want to pay you. Treat customers with respect during the collection process and remember that friendliness will help a customer want to pay you first.
Next, try 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?
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. Be a good listener. When you understand the situation, you can come up with solutions that will help the customer get you paid.