• Last Updated:
  • Nov 17th, 2017 9:56 am
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jul 18, 2016
1825 posts
661 upvotes

Giving a customer a break.

I run a delivery service. Every delivery yields approximately $11 of revenue for my business. 7 days a week, a 5% selection of my total customer base, repeats every single day. Occasionally, I will bump into a customer who is short of cash, and can't pay for the product and the delivery fee. By giving them a break and waiting for their next order to pay me, I am risking an average of $50 product cost and a $11 delivery fee.

Today, I ran into a short of cash customer who left me very uncomfortable. He has repeated his order 14 times in the last month. Today, he was short of cash and asked for a "hail mary" until Saturday. I decided to take a risk and told him, ok, I'll let it go this time, but please don't make a habit of this. Only two days ago he told me that he was going through personal bankruptcy proceedings. When I arrived at his door, he was quite upset. Apparently, my comment about making a habit of this, had really embarrassed him.

What is the correct way of handling this?
6 replies
Member
User avatar
Dec 28, 2010
280 posts
92 upvotes
Well maybe if you had added 'I'm sorry to hear this but (let's not make it a habit)" would have been a bit warmer. You're running a business. It's your income and I would too make a comment like you did.
Actions speak louder than words
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jul 18, 2016
1825 posts
661 upvotes
VESTEGAARD wrote:
Nov 9th, 2017 12:57 pm
Well maybe if you had added 'I'm sorry to hear this but (let's not make it a habit)" would have been a bit warmer. You're running a business. It's your income and I would too make a comment like you did.
Yes, maybe that would have been warmer. Its tricky because he is a regular customer. On the other hand, he asking me to risk one third of the revenue I've earned from him over the last month.

Its rather tricky because I do pride myself on my ability to develop relationship with customers. This means they repeat frequently and tip well. However, the price I pay for this is that these guys consider me almost like a friend who will do them a favour. I have a business to run, and I can't make a habit of doing favours for a big chunk of my customer base. Those who repeat regularly develop the attitude that I somehow owe them the favour, and maybe I do. I'm not sure.
Deal Addict
Nov 27, 2006
2188 posts
425 upvotes
Toronto
If it's a cash business, then no. No money, no product.

now you have to worry about a few factors:
1) client might not pay ever.
2) you have to worry about trying to collect.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jul 18, 2016
1825 posts
661 upvotes
sirex wrote:
Nov 9th, 2017 6:54 pm
If it's a cash business, then no. No money, no product.

now you have to worry about a few factors:
1) client might not pay ever.
2) you have to worry about trying to collect.
Yes, another person just pointed out something else. Because, I am distributing alcohol, I am not legally able to give what is effectively credit. I must not allow this to happen again. In this case, I can set aside the moral sensitivity issue and simply quote the law.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 1, 2011
4830 posts
710 upvotes
I'm not an entrepreneur, but if you're dealing with cash, and he comes up short, it's HIS responsibility to borrow some cash from elsewhere (friends, bank cash advance, whatever.)

I don't think you did/said anything wrong.

The personal bankruptcy story makes it worse. He's not in a good financial situation...don't want that to spill over into you.
Newbie
Nov 15, 2017
3 posts
I probably wouldn’t have used those words. I would say something along the lines about not getting credit myself and then say I can do this one time but there will be a fee ($2 to $5). I collect this fee from all my customers who get credit, so I am cover when someone doesn’t pay.

Customers getting upset or making us feel we owe them a favour is stupid. Of course, I don’t tell them that. I love it when they say they spend x amount of money in the store yaddi yaddi I kept this place running, yet they don’t realize they are less than 1% of the customers who walk through the door. Again, I just smile…and think ‘good luck asking for credit a second time’.

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