As anyone working in business knows, getting people to pay their bills on time is not always easy. Often, other companies, suppliers and retailers don’t pay because of filing or communication errors—with thousands of bills, invoices, receipts and statements in a typical accountant’s office, this is no surprise. Other times, though, we have to deal with those who either are unwilling or unable to pay their bills on time. It’s very important, in all the situations above, that we maintain our professional language, even when dealing with impolite clients or customers.

The Situation

Peter Mann is a new collections agent at a coffee supply company. His first task is to chase up two overdue accounts and get a commitment from each shop to catch up with or settle their account balances as soon as possible.

Peter calls two customers, both of whom haven’t paid their bills. Peter’s aim is clear: get his customers to pay the amount owed as soon as possible. How does he do this? Pay close attention to the language that Peter uses: he is firm, but also professional. What words and phrases does he use in order to remain professional, but to communicate that he expects payment soon?

Let’s listen in as he calls each company.

 
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