Invoicing and the customer experience: the do’s and don’ts
Invoicing is a company’s most commonly used process. Although it serves the purpose of getting paid, it also provides a chance to engage your customer and improve their experience. Here are some tips to keep in mind when sending an invoice:
- Don’t send invoices too quickly! If your products or services have not been delivered completely or to the customer’s satisfaction, sending your invoice too soon can have a detrimental effect on the customer relationship.
Do:give a courtesy call after each delivery to assess customer satisfaction. If there is an issue, a proactive supplier can nip the customer’s complaints in the bud. Unhappy customers don’t pay their invoices!Thanks to automation, putting this process in place doesn’t have to be complex. A Customer Service representative can be automatically prompted to call the customer after delivery, with all the information on the transaction.
- Don’t complicate things: a multipage paper invoice that has jargon and is difficult to decipher is off-putting and challenging to process.
Do: simplify!Keep the information on the invoice short and to the point, and remove any information that is not relevant to the specific transaction or account. A clear and easy-to-understand invoice speeds up processing and payment. Make sure your customers find it pleasant to do business with you.Redesigning an invoice template doesn’t have to be complex. Thanks to composition tools and automation, it’s now possible for even small- and medium-sized businesses to revisit their invoice layout and personalize it to each customer, without having to change existing systems or hire consultants.
- Don’t impose your communication format on your customers! You might find it easier to send paper invoices or email invoices or any other type of invoice, depending on your processes and systems. But customers expect to have the choice and will change suppliers if necessary.
Do:make it easy for your customers to pay you! Paper, email, portals, SMS, EDI— you should make all of these communication channels available to your customers if you want to stay competitive. Digital transformation doesn’t have to be scary. Even businesses that have older ERPs or accounting software can offer e-billing, without switching systems or having complex programming.
- Don’t wait for an invoice to be past due to start communicating with your customers. Past-due notices are unpleasant and cold. It is much more positive to use your company’s resources to communicate on more constructive topics.
Do:send automated reminders instead. This allows your customers to avoid late payment fees while keeping your interactions friendly and helpful.
- Don’t treat your customers like impersonal accounts. By limiting your interaction to administrative purposes, you’re missing an opportunity to strengthen their loyalty.
Do:use the invoicing process to make your customers feel valued. Leverage your data to personalize invoices and offer targeted incentives. Offer discounts for fast payment and promotions on additional products or services, or provide value-added content like tips and tricks and how to get the most out of your products and services.
- Don’t make mistakes: avoid sending a revised invoice after the initial invoice has been sent. It creates more work for your customers and doesn’t show your business in its best light.
Do:ensure invoice accuracy through automation. By digitizing and automating documents such as proof of delivery or work orders, your accounts receivable department has access to information quicker and can attach supporting documents to invoicing, thus helping customers match their invoices and pay faster with confidence.
Producing efficient invoices and providing a good customer experience doesn’t necessarily require complex, intrusive or long processes. All those steps can be implemented step by step into your company systems. Let us help you improve your invoicing process!