Conversations about outstanding debt are never easy. However, they are even more difficult during the holiday season. That may be even more true this year, as Americans have spent most of 2020 dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and all that comes with it. As of this writing, over 300,000 Americans have died and millions have gotten sick. Those who haven’t had first hand experience with the virus have grieved the loss of family members and friends, lost jobs, or simply dealt with months of isolation from social distancing. That makes it especially difficult to have conversations about unpaid debts this holiday season. Here are some good ways to navigate those conversations and keep advancing toward a solution.
Don’t Avoid It
Some businesses avoid the topic of outstanding debt entirely during the holiday season. Statistically, many people and businesses are shorter on time and money during the month of December. Individuals are often cash strapped from buying holiday gifts, travel, and taking time off. Similarly, businesses often have less manpower due to employees taking time off to spend with their families. These challenges can make it tempting to put these conversations off, but this is not a good idea. While we do have divided attention during this time, bills are still due and you still have other clients to assist. Putting it off also extends the age of the debt, which reduces the likelihood of it being paid at all.
Start With Gratitude
Everyone wants to feel appreciated. Your clients who have unpaid debt are no exception. It might be hard to feel thankful for a customer who is withholding a payment, but it’s important to put the debt in perspective. Were they a customer before this? Have they referred other clients to your business? Have they written positive reviews or shared your posts on social media? Remember that a customer having an outstanding debt doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t be a great customer again in the future. Being grateful for their previous support can go a long way toward building goodwill and working toward a solution to the problem debt.
If you find that you’re not making progress with collecting the debt, it may be time to change the conversation. Ask your client when they will have the money to pay or, if they aren’t sure, when they might have a better idea. If they know they will have the money by a certain date, try to set up an automatic payment or bank draft for that day. If they are unable to do that, get a commitment for a date when they will be better able to discuss their finances and make a payment plan. This creates a sense of commitment from them that will help keep the conversation moving in the right direction.
Southwest Recovery Services Collects Debt Year Round
The best way to take a break from collecting outstanding debt during the holiday season is to outsource it to a professional collection agency. At Southwest Recovery Services, we know the best ways to communicate with clients who are facing financial hardship. We treat them with respect and compassion and work toward a resolution. We work on a contingency fee, so we only get paid when we collect. That means our method is airtight and guaranteed to get you paid faster. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you collect outstanding invoices quickly and efficiently.