When the Cheesecake Factory and other retailers have announced that they will not pay rent, it can give pause to small and growing businesses who need their invoices paid. During such an unprecedented time, most everyone is feeling the panic and stress about potential loss of cash flow. It doesn't seem like a good time to ask for payment from clients or customers who may be facing their own crises.
Is there a good way to ask for payment during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The Human to Human Approach 💚
If there's anything we've noticed since the social distancing/quarantine/lockdown began, it's that more people are sharing their humanness. You may notice it on a virtual meeting when someone's dog starts barking or their child walks into the room. You can see it on social media as strangers share their health stories or how they celebrate healthcare workers. As a business, you can take the same approach with your customers. Instead of sending out a demand letter, pick up the phone. Talk to your client accounts payable representative with sincerity and kindness. Connect, maybe a little differently than you have before.
Be Courteous and Flexible 📅
There are friendly email or letter sample template options available if you'd like to start there. Some customers may normally respond better to emails than phone calls, but remember that this crisis is not normal. Remember to try a phone call if all else isn't working.
If your client is unable to meet their obligations at the moment, you can still work out a payment plan that will work for all parties involved. If you're usually receiving payment via check, your client may be unable to print or have checks signed due to their office being closed. Now may be the time to offer another payment option such as credit card or ACH. Flexibility is required for all of us right now, even if it is a little uncomfortable.
Ask for Help 💬
It's okay to ask for what you need right now. You have a business to run and others who depend on you.
You can still lead with your heart but make it known that payment is expected. If it's too much to handle, or if it feels too awkward to pick up the phone, help is available.
Enterprise Recovery can make the payment phone call on your behalf.
Through our accounts receivable collections service, we make the friendly phone calls, as your business, to follow up on your A/R. Think of it as hiring a part time accounts receivable employee with a LOT of experience. We'll take the human approach to get your invoices paid on time.
For bad debt collections, we call as a collections agency and with a little more urgency. It's at this point that the debt is delinquent and your customer is unwilling to pay. We can also help your business decide if legal action is required and help take those next steps.
Right now, most every business is doing their best to meet their customers where they are. Remember that your business' cash flow depends on the successful management of your receivables and debt collections. Let us know if we can help.