Dear Crabby,

I’ve been trying for the past several weeks to get my customer’s AP supervisor (at a very large company) to come to the phone regarding some past dues. Every time I call I can only leave messages with his secretary and they keep telling me the same things, “He’s not in right now.” “He’s in a meeting.” “He’s indisposed.” etc.

I’ve been doing business with this customer for a long time and although this same thing has occurred in the past when they’ve become considerably past due, in the end they’ve always pulled through. But this time it’s getting just way too long and I’m sick and tired of calling.

Signed: Up to my eyeballs!

 


 

Dear Eyeballs,

Take a deep breath and calm down. Here are a few things for you to consider:

1. Make sure you’re not calling at the same time each day. If possible, a very early in the morning or late in the day call may actually give you the opportunity to catch this AP supervisor, especially if you’re calling his direct line. Calling on the weekend could also possibly catch him, if they have hours on those days..

2. Not sure if you have his mobile number but if you do, call from another mobile number where he won’t recognize your company or your personal numbers.

3. Have someone else higher up the chain in your office call. Sometimes hearing a new name or voice is enough to get the debtor to come to the phone or prompt a call back.

4. Let him know in advance a specific time when you will be calling. Leave a message, send an email, or even a text, but let him know that you will be calling at x time on x day and you expect to speak to him at that time or the situation will escalate.

5. Call his manager and start calling up the ladder for someone who can resolve the matter. Fair warning, your AP supervisor may have a negative reaction if you try this option, but one of the goals is to get back on track with your existing payment terms.

6. If you’re still having a problem, then it may be time to consider your options for escalating the case to a more urgent method of collection such as freezing credit or forwarding it to an agency. I know this can be difficult with long-time customers, especially one that is a large company and may be a significant amount of your sales. I hope you can avoid it but remember at the end of the day, this is about getting your money.

Good luck and let me know what happens.

 

Dear Crabby is a credit and collection advice column by Nancy Seiverd, President, CMI Credit Mediators Inc. Your thoughts (nseiverd@cmiweb.com) on what to advise are most welcome, and with your permission, we’ll reprint your comments in the next issue of our newsletter.

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