If you’re doing your due diligence in the accounts receivable department, you’re having your new customers, and old customers, fill out credit applications when they request a new line of credit. Every so often you might run across a customer who declines filling out the application. This could be for a number of reasons. The customer could have had a bad experience in the past, such as identity theft, causing them to be protective over personal information. It’s also possible that the customer is just lazy and doesn’t want to fill out the application, or that they have something to hide.

It’s up to you to figure out what is going on and to work around the issues. We have six tips for alternative ways to find out more about your customers and also to quell the fears of those who may have fallen victim to identity theft in the past.

SIX WAYS TO MAKE AN INFORMED CREDIT DECISION WITHOUT A CREDIT APPLICATION
FIND OUT WHY

The first step to dealing with a situation where a customer refuses to fill out a credit application is to try and find out why. It’s as easy as asking “can you help me understand why?” when they decline. This will help you to decipher whether it is something you can fix by easing their concerns, or if you’re the one who should be concerned because the company is trying to hide something. If the customer is simply concerned because of past sensitive experiences, explain your security protocols to them and why it’s crucial your department has access to their reports.

USE A CREDIT REPORTING BUREAU

When you use a credit reporting bureau that is known for the security measures they take to keep customer information secure, then you can help keep customer fears to a minimum. For example, CreditSafe, the industry’s leading credit reporting and management tool for B2B credit, helps keep you and your company compliant. They have taken the steps to ensure the tool is meeting the rules, so you can assure your customers that there is minimal security risk.

USE PUBLIC SOURCES OF INFORMATION

Not all credit information has to come from an official credit report. Thanks to Google, you can glean a lot of information on a customer with a quick search. Often times, public information like lawsuits and bankruptcies can be found online for free. Additionally, any customer reviews on the company can come in handy in your decision to extend credit. Too many bad reviews and you can be hesitant to extend credit to a company that might be struggling with their cash flow.

USE LINKEDIN

Ever thought you could use a social media site to help you make a decision on whether or not to extend credit? Linkedin can be helpful in making your decision in a number of ways. First, you can use the information available on their company page to get a feel for how the company operates, interacts with their customers and additional information of the stats of their company. Second, you can use credit and collection trade groups to ask around for help. See if anyone in these Linkedin groups has worked with your potential customer or ask for some tips on how you can ease the customer into the idea of filling out a credit application.

USE THE SALES TEAM

The sales team doesn’t just disappear once they have completed the sale. It’s important to keep them involved during the credit application process. If a customer is concerned, sales representatives can leverage the relationship they created with the customer to talk them into filling one out. The sales representatives will also have a lot of information on the customer from their research, helping you to further make your decision.

TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS

After all is said and done, the most important tip is to trust yourself. If something feels off about a customer after they’ve refused the credit application then you can choose to deny them without the additional information you need to make a fully informed decision. However, if you also feel like the information you received from your alternative searches gave you a good view of the customer, you can choose to extend to them as well.