What Should You Ask Your Customer When Their Invoices Are Past Due?
Past due invoices — it’s a simple fact (Although, what a world it would be if everyone paid on time every time!). Perhaps there is a dispute, so your customer is holding off on paying the invoice. Maybe your customer is in fiscal distress and just can’t pay the invoice. But, what should you do if your customer tells you they didn’t get the invoice?
In an article from International Association of Commercial Collectors there are 8 easy questions to ask your customer. A couple of the questions are standard such as confirming your customer’s current address as well as the contact information for the person who should be receiving the invoice.
However, as the author points out, it’s a best practice to also confirm:
“According to our records, the invoice corresponds to your purchase order number ___. Is this P.O. number valid in your system?
Do you have receiving documents for this open item?
Am I correct that the only reason this item remains unpaid is that you do not have an invoice copy on file?
Once you have received the invoice copy, is there any reason this invoice cannot be processed and paid this week?”
Why ask your customer so many questions? Per the author, for clarification purposes and to discourage future use of the tired excuse.
“There are two main reasons for turning a customer’s simple request for an invoice copy into a question-and-answer session:
You have to make certain that excuses for delaying payment once the invoice copy is received by the customer have been addressed and resolved, and
You have to discourage customers from using the “lost invoice” excuse as a regular reason for delaying payment. Customers are less likely to use this excuse in the future if they have to answer these kinds of questions every time they request an invoice copy.”
What questions would you add to this list? Do you have best practices to share?