While conducting business with clients that have credit lines with your company, there are times that invoices will be overdue for various reasons. Although some reasons may not be tenable, there are clients that genuinely have challenges that have caused this delay. Here, we are considering loyal clients who have verifiable financial difficulties that have led to non-payment of overdue invoices.
Providing Discounts for Overdue Invoices to a Strapped Loyal Client via Email
One method to hasten payment or give room for your client’s inadequacy is to offer discount(s) on the overdue invoice(s). This move is crucial to maintaining long-standing relationships with loyal customers who have the best intentions but are incapacitated on account of financial challenges. Details regarding the amount of discount to be given and the invoice(s) to be discounted should be based on thorough assessment of the individual transaction, the customer (company) involved and the financial interests of your company.
Your email should essentially have the following tone and content;
Show you are aware of the challenges the customer is going through, express your genuine concern. Remember, this aspect is the opening of the email; therefore it is vital as it sets the tone of the email. Your empathy should be palpable from here.
Express your hopes for the client’s future. This is a show of goodwill and encouragement. You want the customer to know that you believe things will be better. Although things may not look too good for the customer, there is no crime in hoping, and expressing this hope.
Your tone should be polite and friendly. Do not belittle him/her because of the current financial challenges. People can tell your attitude from the tone of your email. It is important to show you do not despise your client despite the default(s) in payment and economic issues.
Express Your Intention
This aspect requires tact. Though you should be straight forward here, do not make it sound like “you are broke, and I want to help fix you”. Present the discount in form of a proposal; it is an offer. You have already stated your awareness of the challenges this customer is battling with, so the client is aware you are trying to be of assistance, just do not rub it on his/her face.
Connect the Offer to the Issues
Ensure to connect your offer with the financial challenges. Acknowledge the fact that you believe the delayed payment(s) of invoice(s) is connected to the difficulties the client is facing, hence, your offer to make payment(s) easier. Though you may expect the client to have figured this out through the earlier aspect of the email, albeit, it should be expressed clearly for the avoidance of doubt.
Acknowledge their Good Intentions
The truth is that your client is actually unable to make payment(s) as and at when due. Most loyal clients will not like this scenario because they have built a relationship with you over time. Therefore, they will not want to ruin the relationship because of overdue invoice(s). You will need to acknowledge this fact in your email. Let them know you are aware that they have the best of intentions.
Express Your Confidence for Recovery
Another important point to include in your email is your expression of confidence in the recovery effort. Be positive in your predisposition towards your client’s recovery. Do not sound pessimistic or indifferent as this will not only cause discouragement but also, it calls into question your loyalty to the customer.
Looking Forward to the Payment(s)
Now that your good will and hopes have been expressed clearly, and a discount put in place, you should expect payment. The idea is that the discount would enable the client to pay the overdue invoice(s). It is possible that the payments may still be delayed; hence it is important to give a reasonable time to enable the client to meet up with the payment(s).
Remain Professional and Simple
Your email should be professional – avoid unnecessary information. Keep your grammar simple and plain. Avoid idioms and sarcasm. It is not the time to make inquiries about the challenges your client if facing. Doing this would be practically the same as probing or investigating him/her for financial negligence.
You can be sure of a more loyal client after communicating in this manner. He/she may even go out his/her way to secure your payment(s) faster than you expect. People appreciate empathy, respect, encouragement and timely help. The discount you provided is a worthy investment in a loyal client, who will become more committed to you and will likely remain committed in the event that the company’s financial fortunes bounce back.
I hope this email meets you well?
I will like to say how deeply sorry I feel regarding the current financial challenges your company if facing at this time. We had been through similar difficulties and understand that things are tough at the moment. I believe this is only a temporary setback, considering the kind of person you are – hardworking, tireless and dedicated – and the efficiency of your staff members, things will pick up in good time.
It should come as no surprise to you that we at Jay & Jay Conglomerates are eager to help you in any way possible. You have been with us for over 20 years. Such loyalty cannot be overlooked.
We have looked into your credit account with us and have decided to help. As you are aware, you have four overdue invoices, the latest is about six months overdue. This is unlike you; therefore I have assumed that these delays are connected to the current economic situation your company is going through.
We like to offer you a 20% discount on all the overdue invoices if payment is made with the next 30 days from today. I have attached the new invoices to this email. I believe you place a great value on the credit relationship you have with us. Therefore, I hope to receive the payments at the stipulated date.
Account Officer II
Ayo Oyedotun is a professional blogger and freelance writer. He reads, writes and talks about business. You can follow him on Twitter @Ayo_Oyedotun[http://twitter.com/#!/Ayo_Oyedotun] or read Business Owners’ Bible[http://woculus.com/].