Google and other mainstream service providers have made it really easy for consumers and business owners to keep track of when payments are due.
Unfortunately, not everyone remembers to use these methods, which is why it’s important for all businesses (big or small) to politely remind their customers that they owe them money. Here are five ways to do it tactfully and efficiently.
5. Bill Reminders
Reminders are great for encouraging customers to pay after a bill is due, but they won’t help a business get paid on time unless they are sent before the due date. Thus, business owners should get in the habit of sending reminders in advance. These could be in the form of email, a phone call, a text message or a traditional letter sent via snail mail, depending on customer preferences.
By reminding customers up front, they will be more likely to take action and deliver payment on time.
4. Creative Signals
Traditional bill reminders work well, but many businesses (particularly those in online services) can get a little creative with their reminders.
For example, a Web hosting company could have a small ad or pop-up appear when users login. A cloud storage company could show a payment clock (“X amount of days until payment is due”) every time a file is uploaded or downloaded. Many other types of businesses could do the same.
iTunes immediately emails its customers when a song or video is purchased, even if the customer paid using a gift card. That’s an effective way to help customers keep track of what they purchased, but receipts can also be used to reinforce that payment is due. Hotels, for example, are not always paid when a reservation is made. Regardless, the hotel still sends a receipt to confirm the reservation and to politely let customers know what they owe.
2. Incentivize Customers To Pay Early
Before it’s time to send a reminder, small businesses might want to offer the chance to pay early.
That may not be a huge savings, but it is enough to get some customers to pay early. And while most businesses would prefer to be paid the full amount, it is better to receive some money today instead of nothing tomorrow.
1. Frequent Communication With Customers
Businesses can increase their chances of being paid on time by communicating frequently with their customers. This should be in addition to any payment reminders and go above and beyond those lines of communication. For example, Company X might inform all of its customers about an upcoming announcement. The company then sends out an email to promote an industry event it is sponsoring. That may be followed by an email highlighting a popular story posted to the company’s blog.
By frequently sending messages about the business, Company X can delicately (and very subtly) remind customers that they are, in fact, customers. This serves as an unofficial trigger for those who have to make a payment.
– HealPay blogger, Louis Bedigian