B2B vs. B2C. What’s the big difference? Anyone in the industries will be quick to correct you and tell you exactly what the difference is. I’m here, not to point out who our customers are or how the sales cycle happen, but to look at the key differences in debt collection. What are the main differences between B2C and B2B debt collection? What should you, as a B2B debt collector, be doing to ensure you collect everything you’re supposed to on time?
WHAT MAKES B2B DEBT COLLECTION DIFFERENT?
The number one main difference between debt collection in B2B vs. debt collection in B2C is who you are collecting from. In a B2C situation, you are collected directly from the person who took out the line of credit. However, in a B2B situation, you’re collecting from a person who simply works for the business that took out the line of credit. There isn’t as much of a personal connection to the debt as there is for the consumer who is personally facing down a debt collection that can mark their credit history for life.
Additionally, since you’re collecting from a business and not the consumer, it’s important to remember the nuances of business of your customers. Maybe you work with a company that sells snow skis. During the summer, they may be low on cash flow, but during the winter they are flush with cash and your best paying customer. All of these details need to be considered in order to maintain a good business relationship and collect all your debts.
BEST PRACTICES FOR B2B DEBT COLLECTION
CREATE A PERSONAL CONNECTION
As mentioned above, there is nothing great at stake for those that you are calling attempting to collect from in B2B debt collection. They aren’t at risk of having a mark against their personal credit report or any of their personal possessions repo’ed. As an accounts receivable professional and collector, you need to create some type of personal tie to the customer to give them that pull that makes them want to give you the payment, over every other collector calling them. I’m not suggesting that you threaten them that they will lose their job, but rather suggesting that you get to know them. No one likes to disappoint someone who they feel they have a relationship with. Call them often and ask about their day, their family, their work and strike up a bond with them.
KEEP A RECORD OF TRANSACTIONS
Every communication you have with these customers should be documented to a T. It’s hard to keep track of every customer, especially when you’re trying to strike up personal relationships with each one. The best way to handle this is to keep diligent notes on all of your phone calls and emails. You will also know who has paid, when and for how much. Some people will document this in their Outlook or Gmail calendar, noting down when they should reach out to the contact again. Although this is helpful, it can still become a big mess. In order to maintain this type of organization and continue collecting efficiently, we recommend using an accounts receivable automation tool that keeps track of these communications for you, alerts you to when follow ups are due and keeps it all in one location – so you’re not searching through your inbox or calendar for hours.
Not only should you be keeping track of past communications, but you need to be monitoring when everything is coming due again in B2B debt collections. It’s not very efficient to be playing catch up with your companies. As soon as something goes past due or a collection email goes unanswered after a few days, you need to be calling on those accounts. Set reminders and alerts for yourself so you know who to be calling next and what about. Again, this is a task that is made easier using debt collection automation.