A friend of mine called recently to share this story. A member of his credit team was contacted by a customer. She was asked if she responded to trade reference inquiries. She answered yes. The customer asked if the trade reference she provided would be done“faster and better” if she received a $250 expediting fee. She told the caller: “After this call, I will meet with my manager to discuss your offer. If he agrees that there is nothing inappropriate about it, I will be happy to accept your offer…but I can only guarantee the reference request will be answered faster – not better.”
My friend’s question was this: How would you address this situation?
I responded that I would not confront the customer about the $250 bribe offered if for no other reason than the accusation would be based on hearsay. I suggested that based on the customer’s unethical behavior that this account should be flagged for special attention which would include:
- Updating the credit file more frequently
- Requiring the customer’s financial statements more often
- Possibly having the credit manager handle the account personally for a period of time
- Calling more often and sooner once the account is past due
- Holding orders sooner when the account is past due
Someone said: You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. I think the corollary is this: You rarely get a second chance to convince me that your company operates ethically once you have
lied to me or done something that causes me to question your ethics and honesty. That’s my opinion. What’s yours?
Michael Dennis’ Covering Credit Commentary. Michael’s website is www.coveringcredit.com.
The opinions presented are those of the author. The opinions and recommendations do not necessarily reflect the views of CMA, or their Officers and Directors. Readers are encouraged to evaluate any suggestions or recommendations made, and accept and adopt only those concepts that make sense to them.