If it’s time to get paid and it seems your customers are hiding from you, maybe its time to take a look in the mirror. Maybe, just maybe . . . it has more to do with YOU than THEM.
Here are 5 rules for making it easy for your customers to pay you:
1) Improve billing efficiency so invoices are generated and sent as quickly as possible. Being slow to send an initial invoice– well after the service has been provided– can lull your customers into thinking its okay to pay slow. Sending invoices shortly after the product or service is provided helps your customers know you’re on top of things and ready to get paid. Also, sending invoices isn’t the most fun chore. Whatever you can do to make creating and sending invoices more efficient for your team will win you cuddos– both from your team members and your bank account.
2) Make it dead simple for your customers to pay you. Email your customers and provide a link to a secure site for customers to go and pay their invoices. Accept all forms of payments that your customers wish to use. AMEX, Discover, MC, Visa, PayPal, ACH, even old-fashioned checks. For an online payment portal, keep paying an invoice as simple as just one or two clicks.
3) Keep the reminders coming. Once those invoices are sent, stay in touch with your customers so they know you mean business. Show you’re organized and their invoices won’t slip through the cracks. It’s best if you can automate these reminders to keep you free to work on the business.
4) Stay professional. After a customer receives notice of a late invoice, more urgent language can be used with the customer. But always, always, always remain professional. The Golden Rule applies here. Treat your customers with respect and dignity, and you will generally be treated with respect and dignity, too.
5) Use incentives. Provide discounts for customers to pay early or add on finance charges for customers who pay late. (Check with your attorney on appropriate fees and language to use in your disclosures.) Also, be careful about unintended consequences. For example, if you provided the option for customers to pay late fees in lieu of paying on time, you may see a significant escalation in late payments.
Overall, making it easy for your customers to pay you will increase your productivity, increase your relationships, and provide value to your customers.