Budgeting Essentials

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7 Steps to Keep Non-paying Customers Happy: And Get Paid!

7 Steps to Keep

Non-paying Customers Happy:

And Get Paid!




Answer Their Anger This Way

You do not have to lose an angry customer (plus not get paid) and I am going to show you how.



You’ve worked hard in your small business. You’ve made it through the pandemic. Congratulations!


You might be thinking, “Yeah, but what about this unhappy customer I’ve got who won’t pay the bill? In these tough economic times, when inflation seems to be knocking at the door, every dollar counts.”


What if I told you there is a way to keep non-paying customers happy? Would you like to hear about it?


There is a secret way to cause that non-paying, disgruntled customer, to suddenly become happy and satisfied again!


You may be saying, “I’ve already sent a second billing, and I still haven’t been paid. Are you trying to tell me there’s a way to get my money, keep this customer and…make this person happy?”




You can get all this and more with what I call the extended family approach. Most of what I’m going to share with you involves no outlay of cash, but can be extremely valuable to your bottom line.


Some of what you are about to learn today may sound familiar. That’s okay. We all need to be reminded of how it feels when we are frustrated with a product or service. Especially in tough economic times.


The Extended Family Approach


Extended Family approach Pixabay


The best response a small business owner can offer is to treat your customers like family. Go see them. Find out what’s wrong. There may be some simple solution. Or not.


The best way to deal with a non-paying or dissatisfied customer is face to face whenever possible. I know this may sound terrifying, but it’s really not. When you see this person as a family member, it’s really not such a big deal.


I have personal experience with this.


More often than not, when a person raises their voice while speaking with you, they are simply letting off steam. They want someone to hear their side of the story.


It may be that this particular person (family member) has had their concerns blown off in the past, and they don’t want to repeat that history. So, shed the fear, it gets better as we continue.


Never, ever, try to talk over the customer in your own defense. Once the customer has had the opportunity to blow steam, they stop talking. This is your opportunity to repeat back to them what you just heard them say.



An example might be, “I heard you say that you expected “A”, and you only received “B”. Is that correct?”


This usually works very well because the customer is hearing you repeat the same words they just spoke. It makes him or her feel validated.


Occasionally, this may backfire.


Once you tell the customer what you thought you heard them say, you may get a negative response. No worries.


After they finish talking, using their words, begin again by saying what you thought you heard them say. Preface your statement with the customer’s exact word or phrase. Start it out like this, “If I heard you correctly, you expected this and got that…am I right?”


If you are unable to meet with your customer face to face, the next best thing is to call them on the telephone. Most customers – even angry ones – like to talk with a live person who wants to know about their problem and someone that can offer a solution.




Yes, you may reach Mr. Angry on the phone. But that’s okay. Let him get the matter off his chest. Once he feels he has sufficiently stated his point of view, he will get quiet, awaiting your response.


Put yourself in his shoes – remember he is family. Level with him. Take responsibility for what went wrong (even if it wasn’t your fault). Tell him you’d like to make things right. Offer a solution or two (within reason, of course).


Encourage him that you understand the problem needs to be fixed and you are the one to get the job done! Apologize for the misunderstanding, inconvenience, or unrest this issue has caused in his life.


When these first two steps do not work – for whatever reason – send your customer a text message or handwritten message. Busy parents and singles are likely to prefer a text. Grandparents may prefer something in writing. The cost of an appropriately worded greeting card (or a blank card with a nice picture where you can write your own words) is money well spent to save a customer!


When people know that you care about them – like family they are more apt to forgive and move forward with you. Remember, to them, you are the face of the product or service they receive!


Let’s summarize:

  1. Treat your customers like family.
  1. Visit with your non-paying customer face to face when possible.
  1. Speak with that person fairly, honestly, and respectfully.
  1. Never talk over the customer in your own defense.
  1. Repeat what you heard your customer (family member) say, using their words.
  1. If you cannot be face to face with your customer, telephone, text, or send an appropriately worded greeting card.

7.   Remember – you are speaking with a family member.


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