THE SIMPLE STEPS TO COLLECTING YOUR MONEY
The steps are simple to follow:
Make sure you have sent everything to the customer that he/she needs.
The first week after month end is extremely busy, with balancing bank accounts, getting out the final invoices, and finally sending off the statements. Make sure you have the correct email addresses so that the customers get their statement at the very least by the end of the first week of the new month.
2/ Have you received everything?
The first phone call for the month. This is the first call you make, usually the second week of the month. You ask,’’ Have you received your statement, your invoices, your proof of delivery/delivery notes/debit notes/credit notes?’’, basically everything they might need to ease the reconciliation of their account on their side to enable them to pay you at the end of the month. If they still need anything, send it on immediately. If you cannot get hold of the customer over the phone, send emails,but you have to make sure that you get through to the person who processes everything for payment and that they confirm that all has been received.
3/Queries and reconciliations.
This is what happens in the third week. All queries following from week two are to be tackled and resolved in this week. If there are quality issues with the product, get the relevant sales people in touch with the customer and immediately have the query resolved. This also goes for pricing/discount issues, as this is usually agreed upon between the sales people and the customer. Credit Control should act as a monitor to ensure that the customer and the sales person are communicating until the query has been sorted out. Your credit department can keep a list of claims or queries outstanding, and update this on a daily basis.
If there are reconciliations on the customer’s account to be done, get them done straight away. The secret here is that each and every query has to be settled by the end of the third week so that your customer is happy.
4/Collect the money.
This is crunch time. Now you know, and your customer knows, that you have done everything in your power to make sure that, as far as Credit is concerned, your customer is satisfied that their account is correct and up to date. You have eliminated the chance of excuses for non-payment. Week 4 is the week of the second phone call. This is where you ask the customer to confirm that they will be paying you on time. If you are a seasoned credit person, you will be able to handle this with your charm and tact!
There will always be exceptions, customers making promises and breaking them. Sometimes there are genuine cases where your customers’ customers pay them late. However, ultimately, this is really not your problem. The fact that your customer has signed your business application and terms and conditions means that they have to adhere to them. Don’t back down, remind your customer in a nice way that your terms stipulate the payment deadlines and that they risk losing their settlement discount/special prices etc., if these terms are not met.So stick to your good credit procedures and be successful.