Invoices may seem boring and utilitarian, but they can be powerful customer communication vehicles:
- You can be almost certain your customers will open and read it.
- Invoices are often regular and expected communications that will float to the top of your customer’s ever-deepening email inbox
- Invoices are really a summary of the VALUE EXCHANGE you have – you get to present the services and products you provide and your customer agrees to the payment exchange
But often invoices are generated, and even written by your accounting team. And though the main purpose is to get paid, you can definitely get better leverage from your standard invoice… and maybe even get paid faster.
Here are some best practices and tips:
- Brand the invoice with your logo, colors and style. Personalize the invoice. Address to a person, not a company.
- Include the list of goods and services in clear customer terms (not just your item numbers). If the list is long or the proposal complex, refer to the detailed document via link or attachment and include the summary description.
- Clearly state payment and due date.
- Have an invoice number for easy tracking and lookup and to avoid confusion.
- If you have payment options such as discounts for early pay or fees for extended payment, include those in an easy to read chart or table.
- Have a real live billing contact name, email and phone.
- Set expectations as to “office hours” and make sure that inquiries are indeed answered quickly. This is one of those critical customer touchpoints that can truly impact a customer relationship. Bills tend to create stress and this is a great opportunity to relieve that stress… rather than add to frustration.
- Conclude with a sincere note appreciating their business and confidence in your company, products or services
- Have polite reminders before penalties or due dates.
- Have a thank you note to confirm all payments.
Want even more ideas?? Create an email file where you can store copies of invoices etc. that you find especially inviting or effective.