A business that has been shamed on some social media platform is not a novelty development in the modern world. Angry or disappointed clients turn to the Internet to share their bad experience with a business, after which the business apologizes and changes the policy or behavior to better. However, this will not work for you if you turn to social media and attempt to expose a client who owes you money. This could backfire in a major way because when you take such a dispute public, you accept a huge risk of being accused or used for interfering with the business. Following such a move, the whole situation becomes much tenser that it had to be. Also, thereafter, it becomes more difficult for you to be the one who takes legal action.
Furthermore, such social media disputes tend to spiral out of control and go viral, attracting too much attention for people who should have never been involved, especially the ordinary public who will joke about it. Also, anyone and everyone involved will surely suffer. When you attack a person or a company on any social media platform, the risk of backlash is enormous.
For example, there was this tweet by an author in which an image was attached, of a DC Metro employee eating on a Metro train. The author was angry because Metro has rules against eating on the trains, and the tweet became viral. Many other people complained that this author was actually trying to shame the employee, the person who sadly did not have time to eat between two of the assignments they had that day. Metro then responded, saying that their rules have recently been changed. The employees are now allowed to eat, and therefore, this particular employee was not in the wrong at all. When the dust settled, the author of the tweet faced backlash on the personal, as well as on the professional level. It went so far that she had lost a book contract.
Imagine another potential scenario. There is an imaginary company, let us call it Company X. An unhappy client tweets that Company X has an invoice 90 days overdue. To this, Company X replies that they are not paying for this because the quality of the work done for them was rather poor and unsatisfactory. Now, how many other potential clients may see this virtual conversation on Twitter and be swayed away from either of the two sides? Tweeting and another posting of this sorts also tends to put in question other clients and companies who are working together and prompt more disagreements. If they can do it, why can’t we? Then it goes on and on. Someone who does not even know the history behind this disagreement might also question the commitment to confidentiality of the company.
So what can be done in these scenarios? Several things actually.
First, try to prevent the unpaid bills in the first place. By conducting a credit check of a client, you can avoid working with bad clients. Have the client fill out a good credit application, as this can help you collect the invoices. For example, the Kaplan Collection Agency has an e-book with 20 different sample credit applications.
You could also make it easy for the clients to pay what they owe. If you send your invoices on time and offer multiple different ways of payment, like for example paying electronically, the clients will much more likely pay their bills on time, and you will never have to chase them around.
Having quality communication and client support is also crucial. You should be able to contact the clients both via email and by phone. Through emails, you will create a paper trail, while phone calls are better to get the information out of the clients.
Lastly, if they are not paying, stop the service or work. As long as they owe money, do not continue working with them. Generally, people are reluctant to take this measure because they hope the client will pay, and they need them for future deals. However, why work for free? Be ready to take the necessary steps.
Timing is important when you are collecting the unpaid invoices. When a receivable is three months overdue, it is ever collected in around 74% of cases. Therefore, do not waste nerves and time on social media campaigns. They are highly unlikely to succeed. Instead of this, consider a reputable collection agency.
Remember, in a world where everyone has access to the internet, it is not smart to complain about businesses and people on social media platforms, even if it is popular. It will never do any good, and will actually hurt your business and relationships with other clients.