Magazine article Business Credit

10 Tips to Collecting Money and Keeping the Customer Happy in the Construction Industry

Magazine article Business Credit

10 Tips to Collecting Money and Keeping the Customer Happy in the Construction Industry

Article excerpt

Let's face it: in general, credit managers are not the most liked people in this world. Everyone dreads getting a call from us. They will try to avoid it at all cost. I truly believe we can turn it around and be the one person that everyone wants to talk to. Here are tips that can help get us credit managers there. Though written specifically for those in the construction industry, most tips apply to any industry.

1. Go that extra step for your customers. I always like going above and beyond for my customers, and you will find this a recurring theme in the following tips. One way to do this with past-due debtors is by knowing if they have debtors themselves. Ask them what you can do to help both their company and yours get paid faster. Some people just need a little guidance, a little bit of extra help. A lot of people have a hard time asking for money. I can help them cross that bridge, with the foremost emphasis on doing it legally, morally and ethically.

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2. Be honest and upfront. This should be the basis of building the relationships with your customers. And, if you go that extra mile for them in the long run, it will pay off. You will be the first one to know when a project has gone bad because your customer will call asking for help. When you have to initiate a collection effort, let the customer know what your next step will be if payment is not received, and give them time to resolve the issue or try to find a solution. By no means am I telling you to give up your trade secrets. By doing this, when I have to get firm with them, the one thing that they cannot say is I did not try to help them.

3. When calling an account, always be cheerful and upbeat. The person on the other line can sense the "vibe" you are giving off.

4. When getting a call or an email from the customer, chances are that customer is sitting down to pay bills. Get them what they need ASAP so that your invoice does not get put to the side or on the bottom of all the other bills.

5. If you have to file a lien on property, take the initiative and give all parties a courtesy call at least ten days before filing the lien. Let all parties know you are just making a courtesy call to see what you can do that will help everyone get paid without having to file a lien. This will get all parties communicating back and forth and it will get the money moving. Not to mention that you will look like a superstar to the general contractors and the owners because you went that extra mile by calling them to see if payment could be resolved before filing a lien. We all know they get certified letters, and you may ask why you need to follow up with a phone call. By calling, you are getting the company that signed for your certified letter to actually get motivated and address the issue instead of your letter just ending up on a desk full of paperwork. After all, when you send the notice of intent, time is of the essence.

6. Be nice! Guess what? Customers remember the credit manager that was rude, and most likely will not come back to your company because of the way you treated them the first time around. It may appear on the surface that they are not a good paying customer, and you may think at first that your company does not need their business, but you never know. As hard as you are trying to collect the money, that customer is more than likely trying just as hard to get his business going, and he just might land a big job soon. …

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