Every interaction that you have with your customers tells them something about your business. The levels of service, professionalism and attention to detail all come across in many different ways but always with the result being the same – the customer will make up their mind as to whether or not come back again.
Return business is at the heart of every successful venture and this means that the perceptions built up by customers across a range of contacts with your business really can be the make or break factors. So no matter how basic or routine the process might be, every aspect of your public-facing work needs to be considered carefully.
Digital age efficiency
One of the byproducts of the digital age is that an amateur approach really glares out nowadays. Any representation of your business activities needs to look professional and give across an aura of authority. This is particularly true of any printed materials or electronic versions of them, as badly-designed or poorly laid-out work can not only be off putting, it might also not be fit for purpose either.
Thankfully there are many tools available today, either as software packages or online services, that can help you achieve great-looking results that give your customers confidence and all cover all the bases for you too.
Invoicing is one of the most basic procedures a company of any size has to make sure is done properly. Not only is it an essential part of a company’s financial records and accounting, it can also have a direct effect on cash flow and the availability of financial resources. Simple rookie mistakes such as not addressing an invoice correctly can lead to delays or non-payment, as can including an incorrect or unclear description of the goods or services being invoiced for.
A common error here is using terminology that is used within your business, but which might be unfamiliar to the client or customer. The need to make things clear and explicit cannot be overemphasized because it really is something that you need to get right.
Including incorrect taxes
If your goods and services carry extra tax or other levies you must make sure your customers are aware of this and detail it on the invoice. For a business that operates across borders this can be a particularly tricky issue as import/export tariffs and taxes can vary greatly from country to country. All payment information must be made clear, because if you confuse your customers or make payment seem like a hard or complicated task, there will inevitably be delays.
Of course an online presence is so important to the marketing and sales side of things that it is easy to forget it can be utilized to great effect for invoice payments too. Although some people may prefer traditional methods of payment, providing the customer with all the right information for settling an invoice online can make a significant impact on the turnaround for you.
Carrot and stick
There are other methods that can be a bit more creative and use physiological methods to speed up payments. A ‘carrot’ can be dangled for quick payment by offering a reduction on the next purchase or order if the invoice is settled quickly, and a penalty for late payment can be the ‘stick’ by charging interest on late payments. Whatever terms and conditions you set, you must make sure that they are legal in your area of operations and that they are clearly set out rather than being buried in the small print.
Third party help
Traditionally making sure invoicing is done properly has often led to a business employing an in-house bookkeeper or a third-party accountant at considerable expense. Today there are many different third-party solutions for all your invoicing needs that can save you time and money, while also making sure you get paid on time. Using online services can give you access to hundreds of customizable templates, different currency calculations and symbols and wordings that are legally compliant.
By making sure that your invoices look professional you will be adding value to your brand and building confidence with your customers. When you use a specialist invoice supplier you can also be sure that everything will be set out clearly and concisely, and be customer-friendly. This not only speeds up payments, it also lessens the possibilities of non-payment and increases the likelihood of return business. all in all, it’s a win-win solution for you and your business all round.