You invest a lot of time and effort in delivering excellent customer service, but do you extend that to include excellent debtor service? (Remember: your customers who buy from you on credit are your debtors, too). Just as your top-notch customer service helps to secure that first sale and return business, making your business debtor-friendly helps you get paid faster.
Being a debtor-friendly business can mean your business gets bumped to the top of the payments queue.
Here are six things debtor-friendly businesses do to simply get paid faster:
Respond quickly and fairly to invoice disputes
Invoice disputes can slow down the payment process as debtors withhold payment until they are satisfied with the goods or services they receive. Debtor-friendly invest in staff with good listening and negotiation skills – they’re important skills to have when responding to invoice disputes. It’s important to set your intention when dealing with invoice disputes—do you want to retain this customer, or simply get paid and move on? What you value most at this point will guide your actions.
Make it easy to pay
The ultimate convenient payments experience is for your debtor to be able to pay bills online at any time of day or night. A single click from an invoice or payment reminder into a virtual terminal means your debtor can click to pay with a credit card, as they are looking at your invoice.They don’t even need to login to their bank account or have cash in their bank account; they can use the line of credit on their credit card.
Be the reminder system the customer relies on
“I got busy and forgot to pay…you should have reminded me.” How many times have you heard that? Everyone is busy, and while it may feel uncomfortable at first to remind your customers that they owe you money, most of them will appreciate the reminder. In my experience, they’ll even thank you. (Here are some reminder templates you can customise for your business.)
Consolidate all overdue amounts
Bombarding your debtors with reminders for each invoice is a no-no. It’s confusing and can feel overwhelming for your customer. The best way to communicate with debtors is by totalling all overdue invoices into a single reminder. This way, your debtor can quickly assess their total outstanding amount. Sending a monthly statement is also a concise way to prompt full payment and helps your customers reconcile payments owing with the invoices in their system.
Personalise polite reminders
Personalisation works. People like to see their own names or business name in correspondence. Even if you are automating reminders to save time, look for a system that allows you to personalise reminders with first names, company name, and sends reminders from an email address in your business. Personalised reminders means your business is still communicating with your debtors in your tone and language; your debtors know it’s you on the other end of the line, and not a robot they have no relationship with.
Thank debtors for payment
A simple ‘thank you for payment’ email teaches your debtor that you are monitoring payments and appreciate their business. If you automate these, your thank you for payment email will arrive in your debtor’s inbox soon after payment is received, and acts as positive reinforcement of their payment behaviour. Never underestimate the value of a genuine thank you!
Looking after your debtor relationships and making it easy to pay you is a good way to build a business that customers enjoy transacting with. And that’s good for the bottom line.