Businesses too nice when chasing payment from customers

Businesses across East Lancashire and Greater Manchester are hampering their growth prospects and even facing further struggles because they are too nice to customers when chasing outstanding bills.

That’s the message from a leading debt recovery solicitor who is behind a new service to help businesses get paid quicker and recover debt.

Sara Beaumont, Associate Solicitor at Woodcocks Haworth and Nuttall, said business owners fear losing customers when chasing debt and often skirt around the subject.

Sara said: “It’s a difficult balance for those in charge of collecting debt between keeping the customer happy and rightly collecting money for products or services.

“More often than not, the business will be too lenient and nice when in fact they are legally entitled to get paid according to the terms of their agreement. It’s not uncommon to see businesses wait months to get paid and this places huge pressure on the day to day operations of the business, especially as wages need paying every month and bank borrowing is hard to come by.”

Sara has trained business owners on how to collect money while keeping the customer happy.

She added: “It all starts with having a good system in place, firm terms and conditions and being clear with the customer at the start when they should pay and what the implications are if they don’t. Problems occur when deals are done but no contracts are in place. Those seeking payment should be friendly but firm when chasing debt. Any sign of a weakness can cause delays.”

Woodcocks Haworth and Nuttall has launched a new service which aims to boost the cashflow of SMEs by helping them to get paid more quickly.

The new service offers clients a free credit control audit by specialist solicitors and a fixed fee menu of services for non-disputed debt.

WHN Debt Recovery also takes a closer look at the client’s invoicing procedure, including the issuing of automatic reminders. If the debt remains unpaid after this period, credit controllers know they can refer the matter to WHN Debt Recovery because this is part of the fixed-fee package.

Sara added: “Many SMEs have in-house credit personnel who deal with debt recovery up to a point, but they can often come up against obstacles and may struggles to negotiate.

“The problem is often compounded because there is no obvious point at which in house creditor controllers realise they need to contact a specialist lawyer.

David McCann, Senior Partner and Head of Commercial Dispute Resolution at the firm said: “Sara’s expert commercial knowledge has allowed her to spot a real gap in the market for a dedicated debt recovery service.

“WHN Debt Recovery will help scores of businesses to manage their credit control systems more efficiently and profitably.”