The Gentle Reminders Club is using emoji ratings to encourage businesses to quickly pay their invoices by publicly displaying their rating as debtors on their website.
Companies who owe money are listed as either happy‚ grumpy or indifferent depending on how they deal with settling their debts. The creditor can then change their emoji status if and when payment is received.
Creditors only have to register on the website - for free - before a letter is sent off to the debtor. Weekly letters are sent out to both parties to let them know what their ratings are.
Co-founder of the Gentle Reminders Club Scott Cundill came up with the idea after his own company struggled to get paid on time.
“Most of our clients pay us quickly. It’s that 10 to 15 percent that make us want to scream‚” Cundill said.
“With payments being such a problem in South Africa‚ this will help speed up the chain of payments down the chain and all businesses will benefit.”
More than 1‚500 businesses have already registered for the service‚ and Cundill believes that the rating system is so successful because reputation is important in business.
“It’s a lovely feeling‚ watching people‚ who were otherwise silent‚ come out and make payment arrangements. It’s all done with a positive attitude – it’s not adversarial like a lawyer or debt collector.”
The website has a confidential chat room where both parties can privately discuss the outstanding invoice and hopefully come to a resolution.
Cundill is confident that the platform does not use intimidation to get people to pay their bills and doesn’t believe a poor rating is considered a form of defamation.
“Actually‚ it’s just the opposite‚” he said.
“It’s so easy to have your rating upgraded so you look good on the website. We want you to have a great rating. Gentle Reminders is not here as a punitive measure‚ but rather to encourage better business ethics.”