As a business owner, you know how important it is to bring in customer payments on time, so you can pay your bills. Yet securing prompt payment from customers and maintaining customer loyalty can be a significant challenge. One Click Advisor invites you to explore these tips about how to avoid and handle late payments while remaining customer-friendly.

Clear Contracts

To ensure prompt customer payment, make sure your customers know exactly what you expect from them and when. Provide your customers with a clear written contract that includes the date of purchase, the payment terms (including the monthly payment amount and due date), contract termination options, and penalties for nonpayment (such as late fees and possible legal action). If your customers understand expectations and consequences up front, they may be more likely to uphold their end of the bargain.

Considerate Communication

Sometimes customers are simply unorganized and get mixed up about due dates and payment schedules. Clear communication from you can help your customers stay on track. First, send easy-to-read invoices with the amount and due date plainly marked. Quickbooks has a top-rated invoicing system. A monthly payment reminder by mail, email, or text may also be helpful. Be careful when sending reminders by email, though. If you send reminders to groups of customers, they can easily end up in your customers’ spam files. Send them individually if possible.

Also, if you must send large PDF files, such as contracts or sets of invoices, to your customers, remember that such files can get hung up in email programs and even rejected. You can compress PDF files using a PDF compressor tool. This way, your PDFs retain their structure and elements, even images and fonts, in a smaller file size that makes them easier to deliver and simpler for your customers to access.

Interesting Incentives

You can also help your customers avoid late payments by offering some interesting incentives for them to pay on time or even early. You may, for instance, provide a discount for early payment or a coupon to use on a future purchase. Make sure your customers know about these incentives up front, and mention them in payment reminders. You can even create a reward system that allows customers to earn points for on-time and early payment and trade in those points for benefits, such as exclusive discounts or prizes.

Painless Payments

Finally, make it painless for your customers to pay their bills. Streamline your online payment system, and set up a way to accept payments through your business app. The latter is especially important because so many people are doing business right on their cell phones these days. Make sure your customers can easily set up payment options and authorize their bank accounts on your app. Also, assure them your app is a safe way to pay and their financial information is secure. Be sure you’re using bank account authentication software that works with an ACH processor, so you can link your customers’ accounts while maintaining full security.

Decreased Dissatisfaction

Through clear contracts, good communication, incentives, and easy payments, you can decrease dissatisfaction for your customers and yourself. Try some of these ideas to better avoid and handle late payments.

And finally…

Welcome to One Click Advisor! We would be remiss if we didn’t give you a brief tour of the site and what it can do for you. The free Business Builder is a consulting session, solving your business plan questions in minutes. Your challenges and opportunities can be sorted into one of three areas.

Marketing, because it brings in the customers. Start or continue that plan here.

Operations, because it keeps your customers. Start or continue that plan here.

Finance, because it is the scoreboard and because to keeps you paid. Change the “score” and explore financing here.