How do you get people to pay you?

One question our Client Consultants get every month when delivering our clients’ checks is similar to the one above; how do we get people to pay us? Our clients beg and cajole and plead with their customers, and after a lengthy wait they send to the account to us only to be pleasantly irritated we collected!

I have heard the refrain hundreds of times; “Why didn’t they just pay me?” when delivering a check with a payment for a customer or patient that was sent to us less than a month before. The short answer is – because they can!

Many people have figured out how long they will have before our clients take the final step of sending them to collections, how long they have once in collections before credit reporting, and some even have figured our how long they will have before legal action takes place! Once people have figured out “the system,” they will exploit it as long as you allow them. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard our clients say in exasperated tones, “Why didn’t they just pay me? I tried to work with them and would’ve taken $5.”

People’s payment priorities

Those of us in the ARM industry (Accounts Receivables Management) have seen a significant change to Maslow’s Hierarchy in the past 10-15 years. No longer are food, shelter and clothing at the base of the pyramid, the things people require before they spend money on other items of less necessity. Many people who won’t pay their medical bills, or financial bills, or other debts have the money, they are doing something else with it! Two items at the top of the list (or, bottom of the hierarchy) are cable/satellite television and cell phone plans. People will give up most other things before giving these items up.

I recently had a discussion with one of our utility clients about a family that went to great lengths to get their water turned back on at their home. The bill was slightly over $100. They begged and pleaded and eventually got their church to pay $60 to get the water turned back on.  When the worker was out turning on the water, he had to work around the cable TV guy who was installing new service!

We take the approach most people have the money, but are doing something else with it. We are firm, fair, and we don’t beg people to do what they should be doing for themselves; pay their just debts.

To learn more about ways we can help you get paid the money consumers owe your business, please call us at 1-800-283-0222.


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