The silent treatment- How to get your customer to respond

As anyone who has ever had to chase money knows, actually getting the customer to respond is just as frustrating as them not paying. The unanswered emails, the phone calls that aren’t returned, the SMS that you can see they’ve read but not replied. Before you go tearing your hair out however, here are our top 5 ways to get them to respond:

5. Ask a question. You will be shocked at how effective this is because asking a question engages them in a conversation, and they will feel rude if they ignore you. “What is the most you can pay today?” is the absolute best question to ask, but make sure this is the final thing you say. Adding a “yours faithfully”, “thanks”, “best regards” or anything similar will lessen its effectiveness, so finish your email or SMS with the question only.

4. Provide a deadline. 5pm today is my favourite. “Please come back to me today before 5pm as that is the time I need to make a decision and if things are tough I want to help you avoid any further action”.

3. Create urgency. Similar to the deadline, but you must tell them what may happen if they don’t respond. Debt collection, legal action, credit default, stop credit, closing their account- whatever it is, make sure they know.

2. Sell the benefit to them of responding. The mere fact you are having to do this would indicate they probably don’t have the money to pay you, so you have to make it worth their while otherwise the silent treatment will continue. Helping them avoid further action, further costs or debt collection are all ways they benefit, so ensure you explain these to them. A discount perhaps, or a payment arrangement are others.

1. Empathise. The single best way to get them talking is by putting yourself in their shoes and thinking “what would make me respond?”. Empathy is such an underutilised skill but so powerful- by thinking like the customer, you gain perspective and a newfound appreciation of what they may be going through. Ask yourself that question above and do the answer.


The silent treatment- How to get your customer to respond

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