Some years back, I was in a discussion with an uncle who was prone to ‘debt amnesia’. Specifically, we were talking about the two hundred dollars he owed me. I told him, ‘Look, if you don’t pay me the money you owe, I’m going to tell everyone else in the family that you did!’ An unusual threat or promise, but it worked.

Typically, we let our delinquent customers know that perhaps through a credit reporting agency, we are going to tell others about their non or slow payment.

A client of mine in Canada, has switched that around 180 degrees and I believe they are onto something.

One of the main features of the Landlord Credit Bureau is the offer to tenants of ‘positive’ reporting. Sometimes an individual may be delinquent, perhaps even with debt written off for credit cards or personal loans yet remained faithful to paying their rent on time.

With more landlords using their services, the value to the tenant of prompt payments, and reasonable work-arounds when there is a problem, is much more attractive. This is not to say that if you are a landlord, that the possibility of negative information is not of value – it is, very much so.

Perhaps you are in a business where negative information is only or typically shared with potential creditors. The challenge is to identify a customer who has been through difficulties, pulled themselves back from the brink and deserves much more than a pat on the back.

They deserve, I believe, a special category in credit reporting. After all, someone who has been to the edge, didn’t fall off, bent but didn’t break (I could go on with the analogies, but enough) may be of more value to us than an un-tested customer.

Your challenge? We tend to be very good at passing along ‘bad news’ in our business, is there a story or two that may work the other way?

Pithy Quote of the Month:

“If you can’t say something nice about somebody, don’t say anything.”
…Tim’s mom.