There is no point in taking the time to create a strong credit control policy, and then spending the effort to communicating that policy to your customers and staff only to then not use that policy.
When you created your credit control policy you set out the responsibilities on both sides of any dispute, you also clearly stated what steps you will take in the recovery of a debt. Therefore it is in the best interest for both you and your customers that you implement your policy as quickly as possible.
How you implement your policy is just as important as what is in your policy. Consistency should be the key to your approach. In general you should try and treat all of your customers the same.
Let’s say for example that you have made every attempt to recover the debt - including numerous reminder notifications, follow up phone calls, etc. and yet the debt still has not been paid. You have reached the point where you have declared, as part of your policy, that you will have to go the legal route to recover your debt - then you must go legal! If you do not apply your policy you will considerably weaken your position in any discussions or negations with your customers as you will have a history of not following through and consequently there will be no real incentive for your customers to comply with your policy.
It is important that you are fair and consistent across all of your customers, and by and large the same rules should apply to everyone. However you also need to be sympathetic to each situation as there may often be a genuine reason for non payment and so each case should be taken on its own merit.
At the heart of it, credit control is all about people and managing those important relationships between your company and your customers. The role of the credit controller is to not only apply a consistent approach to all customers, but at the same time use their experience and individual judgment to measure each situation by its merits and react accordingly. This is essential for maintaining a good and mutually respectful working relationship with your customers.