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There are few things as frustrating in the world of business as a customer who won’t pay. You delivered the product or service as promised, but the customer hasn’t lived up to their end of the bargain.

If you’re striking out time and time again, it might be time to change the game plan. Below are a few strategies you can employ to increase your chances of collecting what’s owed. The rewards usually outweigh the cost of hiring a debt collection agency by far.

1. Stop Doing Business with Them

It sounds like a no-brainer, but there are plenty of companies that continue to do business with customers or clients that aren’t paying up. Don’t enable your customers to keep putting off payments by continuing to provide them with products, services or supplies. Simply cut them off. If they need your products badly enough they will find a way to pay.

2. Keep Your Cool

It’s easy to feel angry when a customer won’t pay. But leave your emotions out of the debt collection process. You won’t get results by making threats or yelling at your customers. Being kind, yet firm, goes a long way.

3. Review Your Own Policies and Procedures

It’s a hard pill to swallow, but some of your company’s policies and procedures could be hindering the debt collection process. In any case, it never hurts to take a hard look at them. Are you being clear about payment due dates? Are you sending complete, professional-looking invoices? Are you sending payment reminders on a regular basis? If not, customers might not take your debt collection efforts seriously.

4. Work out a Payment Plan

Some amount of payment is always better than none at all. If you’re dealing with honest, reasonable customers who just don’t have the ability to pay, try to negotiate a monthly payment plan. Ask the customer what they can afford to pay each month and bill just that amount. Most customers will be grateful for the flexibility.

5. Hire a Debt Collection Agency

If all else fails, it might be time to call in the professionals. Many customers take debt collection calls from an agency more seriously than debt collection calls from your accounts receivable department. Even customers who have refused to pay for months might decide it’s finally time to take care of the debt when a collection agency starts calling.

Author: Ashley Smith is a writer at CostOwl.com

We welcome your feedback and comments. Mention them in the comment below. Ex: @Mary has tips on successful debt collection.

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