Credit Matters Blog

It Is The Little Things That Stop Your Customer Paying

Kim Radok 14 February 2013


We all know about the big things in our business, For instance, we introduce the right product to the right customer, have the order book handy and should know who to approach for the signature to close the deal. However sales are often lost because you supplied the wrong product, or perhaps  forgot to thank the customer for their custom.

Getting paid for your goods and services is similar. We know we have to send an invoice, or that sometimes we need to make prompt telephone calls for the unpaid invoice etc.

But it is the little things that equally make it difficult for your customer to pay you or provides an excuse not to pay you at all. So here are few "little things" to concentrate on.

1  First of all make sure your sales team obtains a properly authorised order WITH some form of purchase order authority.

If your sales team cannot provide a properly authorised purchase/order form, any dispute may lose you the sale and the money.

2  Make sure the product can be delivered to the correct address and an authorised signature is obtained to verify the receipt of your product.

Without a POD (proof of delivery) you will find it extremely difficult to prove that you should actually be paid.

In addition, make sure you can access the POD at ANY time in the future to prove the product was delivered.

3  Send the invoice to the address stipulated by the customer.

Sending the invoice to the wrong address is guaranteed to delay payment.

4  Make sure your invoice has all necessary information on it to enable the customer to authorise the payment as quickly as possible.

I know one accounts payable manager use to have a pile of invoices on his desk which could not be authorised because suppliers HAD NOT provided the purchase order number on the invoice.

5  The day after payment is not received, start making contact.

A delayed payment is not always a sign the customer did not want to pay your invoice. Sometimes they just don't receive the invoice.

6  Repeat contacts, and if previous contacts by email or letter fail to obtain a satisfactory response, pick up the TELEPHONE.

Emails and letters not responded to, can mean a number of things. A telephone call often results in a ready answer/explanation which you can act on.

7  If all other contact methodologies fail, it is time to send out the salesperson or the boss to resolve the issue.

After all, the salesperson is not just there to take orders. They are there to make a SALE, and as we all know, a sale is not a sale until the money is in the bank.

The Boss is responsible for the payment of all products and services which are supplied to the customer. To achieve this objective, sometimes they have to get their hands dirty and actually talk with the customer. 

It is interesting how many times when the salesperson or the boss actually talks to the customer, the invoice gets paid.

May you be paid today rather than tomorrow

Kim Radok