Updated: Jan 13, 2022
Have you provided a good or service to a customer who is now slow to pay? Are your outreaches of additional invoices, phone calls, and more proving unfruitful? Maybe it's time to up your PATHOS!
Pathos is defined as "a quality that causes people to feel sympathy and sadness" (Pathos Definition & Meaning - Merriam-Webster) As it relates to business, think of pathos as understanding what the consumer is feeling or experiencing.
When asking for a payment (in person, phone, email, etc.), use pathos as a way to show your customer that you are empathetic to the reason they haven't made payment without being sympathetic (sharing your story) or allowing them to believe they don't have to pay. Use pathos to drive the conversation in the following ways.
- Listen to the reasons why payment hasn't been made. What are their emotions? Acknowledge their emotions and situation using empathy. For example, "I hear your frustration" or "It sounds like you have had a rough few months."
- Ask open ended questions. For example, "Tell me what happened" or "What is stopping you from paying this?".
- Modify your speed, tone, and language of your speak to be slower, soft, and succinct. Use positive words. For example, "Here's what I can do" instead of "No. I can't provide that payment option."
Utilize your ethos (credibility) and logos (logic) along with your pathos to bring resolution to the receivable by asking for a "good faith" payment with a future payment plan or payment in full!
Find out more about ethos at Using Your Ethos To Collect Past Dues (beyondgreensolutions.com) and logos at Using Your Logos To Collect Past Dues (beyondgreensolutions.com).