Late payment and debt collection are regrettable but inevitable aspects of business life that are likely to continue for the foreseeable future; the debt recovery process is not one that any supplier wants to find itself caught up in.
Suppliers are understandably fearful of tainting their customer relationships and Lovetts works hard on behalf of its clients to protect theserelationships during any debt collection process in which we are instructed.
However, we also know that the best way to protect client relationships and keep cash flowing is to avoid issues of late payment from the outset. That's why in addition to the battery of free content we provide to help with this we also believe that a new service called The Prompt Payment Directory has the potential to make a significant impact in this area.
The Prompt Payment Directory is an online platform that helps UK business mitigate the problems of late payment by collecting and redistributing crowdsourced contextual data around individual instances of late payment. The two key elements here are 'crowdsourced' and 'context'.
By crowdsourcing data from suppliers this means that instead of relying on debtors to report on their payment practices suppliers become the primary source of data and in doing so take back control of the situation. In exchange for posting their first notice on the directory contributors receive their first 12 subscription for free.
Data is submitted via a form and contributors are asked to give a reason as to why they were paid late. These will generally be the explanation provided by the debtor. This provides the vital context.
Subscribers to the service, including all contributors, will benefit from this pool of knowledge as it grows because it will help them understand more about their potential customers and thus know which questions to ask in order to avoid being paid late.
Don't 'Name and Shame', do 'Share and Declare'
While The Prompt Payment Directory permits contributors to post notices anonymously it does so only to protect those much valued customer relationships.
The site does not permit contributors to run amok by posting what they like and submissions can only be made by a carefully structured closed format form which minimises abuse.
Additionally contributors have full control and are free to delete their submissions at any time.
The aggregated data is not on public display and it is only accessible to contributors and subscribers.
It's clear to see how this service has the potential to genuinely deliver on the promise of greater transparency which the business community has been clamouring for, but to do so suppliers need to wrest back control of the narrative by becoming the primary source of data and not leaving this to the debtors.
Ultimately this process can be good for both suppliers and debtors that genuinely also want to see change.