Nowadays, many businesses use invoicing to collect their accounts receivable.
By allowing customers or clients to pay via invoices, you provide them with a high level of convenience, which is essential for both their experience with your business and their satisfaction.
Invoices have a due period anywhere from 30 to 120 days.
That means that customers can make purchases even if they don’t have money on them at that very moment.
Still, as convenient as invoices can be, they can hurt your cash flow if you’re not careful enough.
Late and missed payments hurt both your revenue and your bottom line. For some businesses, this can be a serious issue that may even lead to bankruptcy.
If invoice payments are your only source of income, you must consider how to pay for expenses, such as bills, taxes, salaries, maintenance and so on until your invoices are due.
However, the trick is in getting paid on time without being too pushy about it with your customers. You want to get paid while avoiding ruining your customer experience in the process.
With that in mind, here are a few invoicing practices to improve your customer experience.
Understand your clients
One of the surest ways to ensure a good customer experience when invoicing clients or customers is to know them well.
Understanding their preferences, needs, and expectations will allow you to set up a payment system that will suit both sides the best way possible.
In addition, you increase your chances of getting paid on time if you know how to properly bill your clients.
What’s more, setting aside the time to get to know your clients also reduces the chances of fraud.
That way you ensure that there’s a real person or a company behind the purchases and not some scam that will never pay your invoice.
Make your expectations known
You’re allowed to have expectations the same way your clients or customers have them. After all, it’s only natural to expect to get paid for the products or services you provide.
Therefore, make your expectations known to clients before they decide to make purchases.
That way your terms are known to everyone so that clients can avoid inconveniences or misunderstandings due to lack of information.
Your expectations should include when and how you expect to get paid, and the measures you might resort to if clients are refusing to pay.
Placing emphasis on customer experience is very important, but your company cannot thrive on experience alone. As a matter of fact, your company needs positive cash flow and you can’t have that if you don’t get paid on time.
It’s no secret that invoicing can become quite challenging, especially if you have to manage multiple clients or customers at the same time.
Manual invoicing and invoice tracking can get tricky and you want to avoid costly mistakes at all costs.
Fortunately, technology can help you out immensely with your invoicing practices without hurting the customer experience in the process.
As an example, reliable direct debit solutions allow you to automate your invoicing and your invoice reminders.
They also help you manage recurring payments across multiple sites, payment options and currencies.
This is not only convenient for you but for your clients or customers as well.
You get to ensure that you’re actually paid on time while also ensuring that you’re providing an exceptional customer experience.
Developing a healthy schedule is always beneficial for both your company and your clients.
Regular invoicing allows you to bill everyone you have to while allowing customers to get accustomed to receiving invoices from you at the specific time.
That way you ensure that you haven’t forgotten to send out an invoice, in the first place.
In addition, you also ensure that your clients won’t forget or overlook your invoices because you didn’t send them on time.
By remaining consistent with your invoicing, you’re not only contributing towards a seamless customer experience but you’re also improving the relationships you have with your clients or customers.
Give late payers the benefit of the doubt
Late or missed payments can really hurt your cash flow. However, just because someone is late or they’ve missed a payment, it doesn’t mean they did it on purpose.
Instead of threatening with court claims and lawsuits, try to find out why a client hasn’t paid you yet.
In most cases, they simply didn’t see your invoice and it’s a simple matter to resolve. In other cases, a client or customer is unable to pay due to financial difficulties.
In that case, you can try to work out a different solution with them. The worst case scenario where clients simply refuse to pay is quite rare. In that case, you might have to resort to more drastic measures if you want to get paid at all.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t cost you anything to be polite and includes simple, yet powerful words like “thank you” and “please” when billing clients or customers. However, such politeness can do wonders for customer experience.
Not only will your clients or customers become more satisfied, but they’ll also become more willing to pay you on time.
Sometimes, a bit of effort from both sides is all that it takes to have a meaningful relationship that fosters an exceptional customer experience.
Invoices are the most common payment methods today. They are convenient to clients or customers and they allow you to manage your accounts receivable efficiently.
However, it’s important to ensure that you get paid while maintaining a good customer experience, which is why you must improve your invoicing practices, in the first place.