Relationships are everything. Knowing this, CKR treats all interactions with our clients with the utmost importance, and this includes — and is especially true of — our billing process. This starts by taking the time to get to know the person responsible for paying our invoices because we want to make sure we know the best way to work with each of our clients. After all, a good experience for our clients means a good one for us as well. To do this we follow our four keys to good customer service:
To make sure every interaction is a positive one, we adhere to the following best practices that help make the payment process easy for our clients.
Leverage processes. To cut down on wait times, we have a process in place to get invoices approved and sent out quickly.
Ask the right questions. To make sure we have the information we need, we have to ask the right questions.
- What time frame works best to bill the client, given their business cycles?
- What type of payment would be best for them? And will they consider automatic payment?
- Are there supporting documents required with each invoice, like a PO?
Use online/electronic invoicing. The days of mailing a paper invoice to each customer are gone — thank goodness! There are many invoicing tools available that allow for online invoicing, whether it means emailing the invoice to the customer, allowing them to log in for access, or both. We’re happy to accommodate whatever works best for our client. And anything beats shuffling through a pile of papers on your desk to find the invoice that needs to be paid!
Have a payment policy. We have a payment policy in place, but we also understand that clients have their own payment terms. We will negotiate a time limit that works for both parties.
Specify a late fee upfront. This is not a lot of money – 1.5% interest per month on the overdue amount is common.
Invoice best practices:
- Send invoices promptly. Right after the project is complete, when the success of the project is top-of-mind for the client
- Send invoices many ways: snail mail and email
- Always date the invoices
Managing cash flow is one of the most challenging aspects of running an agency. Often, companies go out of business because their accounts receivable (AR) was too high to sustain business operations. It’s our job to balance the agency’s business needs with the satisfaction of the client.