In every business there will be special relationships. These should be highlighted on the credit control system using notes attached to the account.
Some customers are special cases because of profit, size, or prestige. With others there is a risk of bad publicity, after all no one wants to upset journalist in the BBC. The last category of special relationship are friends, family, golf buddies, etc, of the managing director, other owners, or high level managers – in an ideal world this would not make any difference, but it does.
Many small businesses often have one major customer. I will not labour the risk associated with this, as I am sure that all business owners are aware of those risks. These major customers often make up a large part of the sales and they are therefore treated differently.
Example of dominant customers
- defence contractors
- supermarkets, Tesco for example
- local and national government
- health services
In many of these areas the dominant customer will be very fair – however there are problems when dealing with most retail giants – the reporting functions to them can sometimes become quite onerous.
When there are special cases or dominant customers, credit controllers should be made aware of them in their induction to the position. It is too easy for a new credit controller trying to do a good job to put some of these accounts on hold, and for this not to be noticed until someone calls very unhappy with the customer service.
Communication is vitally important; who should be contacted when there is an issue with one of these accounts should be clearly marked on the account.