Some small business owners struggle to successfully follow up with their unpaid invoices. This can be a huge drain on your business or it can be hardly noticeable if done correctly. Your attitude will determine a lot about how your business handles unpaid invoices.
How you present yourself before your bill is due matters a lot. You should send auto-reminder emails for invoice payments before they are due. That helps your customer keep things in line and alerts them to an upcoming payment.
Missed deadline are unfortunate; but it’s definitely a part of business today. When you need to follow up with your customer, make sure to use these 3 best practices.
There are a lot of business owners out there who will try to wait and allow customers to fix their mistakes on their own. They don’t want to be seen as “mean” or pushy when it comes to their invoices.
No one is suggesting you act meanly towards others, but it can actually be more professional to follow up right away. You don’t need to start out yelling – but touch base with your client right away. It shows that you are paying attention and if there is a real problem, it will be easier to work it out with your client right off the bat so that everyone is on the same page.
If the customer did make an honest mistake (which really is the case a lot of the time) they shouldn’t feel intimidated if you are being polite and friendly about the situation.
It’s a huge let-down when you are expecting a payment and you don’t see it on the due date. The frustration is the same for a new client or a long-standing one.
However, you need to stay professional “under fire”. The reality of the situation is that getting mad or getting frustrated won’t change things. It was either a mistake and they’ll be offended that you’re acting like that. Or it wasn’t a mistake or there is a bigger problem, and guess what? Being angry won’t help the customer work with you.
Stay calm and stay polite because burning your bridges over this probably isn’t the solution to fix your day.
It’s Not Always Intentional
There are times when e-mails fail, clients switch providers, websites, or just simply have a full inbox. Those acts aren’t intentional and they may have just forgotten to tell you. Picking up the phone and calling (while staying professional!) doesn’t have to be awkward. If they didn’t receive your communications they’ll certainly be glad you did, and if they’ve avoiding you, getting a chance to touch base in a more personal way may lead down a productive path for both parties.
As always, no strategy can be 100% effective and you may have to contact a lawyer if things go too far. However, staying professional and acting right away will solve most of your problems before they get away from you and your client.