Although every company and every entrepreneur does their utmost best to avoid it, sooner or later it will happen that one of your customers doesn’t pay your invoice.
The very first step to avoid a financial conflict is to make sure that you do everything correct. This sounds very basic and it is, but problems often starts when agreements are unclear. Be aware that agreements do not only exist on paper, but that they also exist in the form of a spoken agreement. So when you promise to do something, the fact that it isn’t in writing doesn’t mean you don’t have the obligation to perform.
Secondly, when you come to an agreement, make absolutely sure that you and your customer are on the same page about everything. The matter may seem very clear to you, but for example because of cultural differences it may seem very clear to the other party too, but in a different way. The picture below clearly illustrates how two people looking at the same thing come to different conclusions. And is one them wrong?
When you have all your basics covered you can still be faced with a defaulting customer. In this case, contact them. Send an e-mail or pick up the phone, and simply tell them that they have not paid your invoice and you’re wondering why. In many cases the customer will have simply forgotten and will pay in a few days, problem solved. In other cases your customer may complain about your products or services. In this case you need to start a dialogue with your customer to find out what, in their opinion, has gone wrong, evaluate this complaint, solve it when necessary or when the complaint is invalid, explain why it is invalid. When the complaint is about a part of your invoice only, you should explain to them that the part that they agree with should be paid immediately. There is simply no reason not to.
Unfortunately not in all cases you will be able to get in touch with your customer. Or, and this happens quite often, your customer says he just has paid the invoice or he will straight away. You guessed correctly, they didn’t and they won’t. In this case, send them a summons in writing, either by e-mail, fax or letter. Preferably in a way that you can prove receipt of your message.
If, after all your efforts, your customer still doesn’t pay, it is time for a professional to get involved. Apart from the outside scrutiny factor, a debt collector has experience in dealing with people trying to escape their financial obligations. They can also advise on legal steps and local laws.
At Stroop! IBC we have over 10 years experience in collecting B2C and B2B debt in Europe. We know how to deal with defaulters and we have vast experience in legal proceedings under European law.
Do you have a customer, distributor or any person or company that owes you money but won’t pay? Contact us immediately to get an obligations-free advice!