One of the most unfortunate results of this recession is the incredible number of broken—or at least damaged—business relationships. This has certainly happened between banks and home owners but it is also happening in our industry. Have you been having a more difficult time collecting payment from your customers? If so, how do you deal with that customer? Especially if the customer has been a loyal one for a long time? Do you work out a payment plan? What if the customer fails to meet the basics of the reworked agreement? Do you separate yourself from that customer forever? How forgiving should you be? At what point do you run out of patience? At what point is it just not worth the effort to chase what is owed you?
This recession has certainly created some interesting dynamics between businesses and their clients. Here at Green Lodging News I have been fortunate to have so many loyal customers who have met their financial obligations promptly. Still, I get the occasional company that will commit to purchasing an ad and then totally disappear. No returned phone calls. No returned e-mails. Nothing. How do you handle this type of situation? When a customer makes a commitment to buy but then goes "poof" into the darkness? I am still trying to figure out how to handle it. All of us will always get that type of customer—the type of person who is truly not serious about a business relationship. What these people don't realize is that they are killing their own businesses by destroying the bridges to those partners who can help their businesses grow.
There are so many things that come into play when establishing a business relationship with someone. It truly is just like a dating relationship. There are the loyal types, the players, etc. The challenge is separating the two. Those who are good at doing that will weather this recession the best. What are your thoughts?