Often times, companies centered on aggressive growth focus all their optimization efforts on sales and marketing, neglecting to improve internal processes. But it is crucial that your business runs smoothly if you are trying to grow. When you don’t have to worry about human resources, accounting, and onboarding, you can really focus on customer acquisition.
One of the first places you should optimize is how you receive and process payments. This process should be reliably strong as your business grows, especially if collecting payment on time is a consistent issue. Here are 4 steps to keep in mind:
Explain the credit and billing process as early as possible
We encourage businesses to discuss payment and billing even at the time of sale. If your payments process is an efficient one, which it should be, this could be considered a valid selling point. Disputes often arise out of confusion, so make your billing process clear. Give numbers and website information as contact points in case your customer has questions or difficulty with payment.
Manage customer data for accurate billing
Nothing is more frustrating than billing the incorrect amount or charging the wrong customer. Keep your records tidy to avoid unnecessary billing requests. Use a customer relationship management tool to keep track of contact information, billing dates, past due letters, and accounting phone calls. This documentation will also come in handy if you have to send your customer to collections.
Assess your accounts regularly
Make sure that you are keeping track of which customers are past due and how long it has been since they’ve paid their bill. It is much easier for a customer to reconcile 30 days than it is for them to pay for 6 months of unpaid services. When you stay on top of your billing process, you’re better able to proactively address late payments.
Automate your billing and collections process
Eliminate any added chance for human error with a completely automated billing and collections process. Just like the customer relationship management tool mentioned above, automated software gives you a data record of all bills paid and unpaid, including partial payments. Automation also allows you to create and manage special payment plans for delinquent accounts.
Even when you’ve taken all the steps to streamline your accounts receivable process, non-payments happen. When you’ve exhausted all your efforts, your best option is to work with a commercial collections agency like Alexander, Miller, & Associates. We are adequately prepared to handle your most difficult collections cases. Contact us now for more information.