Ask any small business owner and they will tell you that billing their customers and getting them to pay on time is an ongoing problem. However, there are things you can do to make your billing process easier and more effective. Here are five of the best practices:
The sooner you send out your invoices the better. Prompt notification of payments due are also welcome by your customers, since that gives them the longest possible time to respond. Therefore, always make it a priority to send out invoices as quickly as possible once the work has been completed.
Have a System
The best way to ensure your billing department is running at maximum efficiency is to have a consistent system in place for sending out invoices and tracking payments. One of the simplest ways to do this is by a numbering system that makes organizing your record keeping simple. Remember, the enemy of efficiency is complexity.
Sometimes you may have to be a bit stern with your customers to get them to pay, but that should never be your first choice. Asking nicely for payment in a respectful, polite manner is what works best in most cases. Manners matter, in billing just like anything else.
The best solution to billing woes is sometimes to just hand the whole process over to someone else. There are firms who specialize in billing processes who have access to the most modern methods, like telecom billing systems and other cutting edge methods. That way your staff will be free to focus on building your business.
It costs a little more, but follow up messages reminding your customers of approaching payment deadlines is usually worth it. Your customers appreciate a friendly reminder, and studies have shown that companies that send reminders have higher rates of on time payments from their customers. Never use a threatening tone with a first reminder, that will just alienate your customers.
Billing customers is an essential part of the routine tasks of any businesses. Therefore, make billing a priority, organize your billing process, send reminders, be nice and consider the possibility of turning over your billing process to an outside firm. These are steps that will help ensure that you get paid on time and have fewer cash flow problems.