- David Galiata
If you think no one wants to get an invoice, think again. Believe it or not, your customers will appreciate receiving your invoices as long as they’re accurate, detailed and timely. Professional invoices are a great opportunity to reinforce the value you deliver. Your customers will respect your thoroughness and be reminded why they chose you over another consulting firm. Here are some tips to achieve better invoicing.
Accurate and Detailed
Accurate invoicing is vital to building trust with your customers. If you get billing right, they’ll have confidence in the quality of your services. The easiest way to ensure accurate, detailed invoicing is to automate your billing process. When your technicians’ reports and your help-desk processes are fully integrated with your billing platform, you can deliver clarity for every item listed on your invoices. If a customer has a question about a particular service item, you can easily track the charge and explain the details. In fact, by providing a high level of detail about all your services, you’ll be helping customers understand exactly what you’re doing in their IT environment–and how you benefit their business. These conversations can actually be a way of educating a customer on the range of services you offer, and provide the opportunity to potentially up-sell and cross sell additional options.
At the end of the day, this is what customers want. Someone who is not technical can pick up an invoice and understand all the work being performed. Not having customers question invoices and follow all the work that has been performed.
Timely invoices give your customers certainty in tracking costs and planning expenses. Prompt billing is as good for your customers as it is for you. Late invoices, on the other hand, can feel like unexpected expenses–and that’s a negative customer experience. There are times where if the invoice is too late, customers will forget about the work performed which may lead to making them reluctant to pay the invoice.
How do you get your invoices out as quickly as possible? Integrate your ticketing, help-desk and invoicing tools under a single platform or eliminate manual steps, allowing you to generate and send invoices faster and more efficiently. And the faster your customers get their invoices, the sooner you get paid.
Each customer is different. Therefore each customer has different billing needs. This means your invoicing approach should be flexible. You want to generate easy-to-understand invoices that are as simple or as detailed as required for your various billing models–hourly rate, retainer or fully managed services. By not giving customers a one-size-fits-all invoice, you’ll be demonstrating that you truly understand their business needs.
Some of the biggest time-wasting processes in a consulting business involve billing. From collecting information and generating invoices to accepting credit card payments, days, weeks, or even months later, the payroll costs some companies incur to get paid for the services they deliver can be astronomical.
You’d be surprised how far these simple small matters impact your overall business. By implementing these, you’ll generate more business and provide better customer service.