Depending on what part of the country you live in, cooler temperatures have arrived, and you’re probably starting to see your otherwise hectic season begin to slow down. While you’re just thankful that you’ve managed to survive another year, now’s the time to start collecting what you’re owed. After all, you didn’t work this hard for free!
Of course, it’s never fun to bug your customers about paying up, but you need to have processes in place so those outstanding invoices won’t disrupt your cash flow. Maybe you have a tried-and-true method for collecting payments, but it’s never too late to re-evaluate your processes. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Your best line of defense is to prevent the issue in the first place so start your collection process at the time of the sale. Discuss your payment terms and conditions upfront when you sign your customers up for service. For example, clearly communicate when your customers will be billed, when payment is due, and anything else like the preferred method of payment. It ensures there are no surprises, which will help make the process smoother. Lastly, make sure you have everything in writing in your service agreement and that your customer has a copy.
Look, we get it—you’ve been busy these past few months. But, your customers can’t pay until they get an invoice, so the faster you send them one, the quicker you’ll get your money. Think about sending your customers a friendly reminder before the invoice is due. With the FieldRoutesTM operations suite, you can set reminders to automatically send customized emails, SMS text, or voicemail messages based on your customers’ balance or the number of days they’re past due. This takes the hassle out of calling everyone individually and gives you hours back in your day. The power of automation is a win-win for your whole team.
This one may seem obvious, but you need to know who owes, what they owe, and how much. Even without technology, you could get a general idea by dividing your total number of accounts receivables (A/R) during a given period by the total amount of sales during the same period. Then, multiply that amount by the number of days in that timeframe. But why crunch those numbers manually when our reporting can do it all for you!
The reality is, the person who is most available to collect money is your technician. They’re in front of your customers all day, every day. The best policy is to train your technicians to collect on every visit. You can help monitor and improve their performance with our Tech Collections Report. It will show you how many opportunities a technician had to collect versus how much they actually collected.
Occasionally, things may get too much for your team to handle, and you need a little extra help. When that happens, there’s nothing wrong with turning to the experts. Your customers called you because you’re the expert in your field service industry. Outsourcing your collections can alleviate some of the pressure and even help improve your process.
FieldRoutes partners with the award-winning, full-service collection agency A.R.M Solutions. They provide custom debt recovery solutions for field service businesses of all sizes. We’re fully integrated with A.R.M, so it simplifies the process of turning over accounts with overdue balances.
It’s probably not very often that you think about your payment processing, but it’s something to consider when it comes to your collections process. Making it as convenient as possible for your customers to pay is one of the easiest ways to collect your money.
If you don’t have a customer payment portal, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Why? Because your customers want to pay and manage their accounts online. According to this blog Online and Mobile Banking Trends in 2019, “90% of consumers ages 18-74 are conducting online banking transactions at least once a month. Since 2014, mobile device transactions have increased 118%.”
It’s the preferred way to pay because it’s fast, easy, and safe. You reduce your paper costs and it also ensures your invoices won’t get lost in a pile on the table. It’s also an easy value-add for your customers. Not a whole lot is free in this world, but giving your customers the option to pay online is not only free for them but also an inexpensive way to provide a value-added convenience and positive customer experience.
Another way to improve your collections process is to get your customers signed up on an automatic payment system. There is a direct correlation between collections and your AutoPay percentage. The more customers you have on AutoPay, the more you will collect and the faster you will collect it. FieldRoutes operations suite helps you improve your Autopay percentage in a number of ways.
First, we put a bold red flag on any customer that doesn’t have AutoPay set up. Second, every automatic communication you send to your customers (service notifications, appointment reminders, collection emails, and general communications) has a link to their customer portal where it alerts them to add an AutoPay method. You can even send targeted email campaigns to all of your customers who aren’t using AutoPay and ask them to subscribe.
Lastly, with the convenience of our mobile app, your technicians can collect Autopay methods directly from customers while they’re in the field.
If you don’t have FieldRoutes Payments Account Updater, you’re missing out—it’s a game-changer in your collections process. We all know what a time-consuming hassle it is to keep your customers’ payment information up-to-date. It never fails that credit and debit cards get lost, stolen, or expire, which leads to missed payments or high rates of decline. Even worse is when your customer misses a service because of this and ends up not renewing.
The FieldRoutes Payments Account Updater feature addresses these challenges when payment credentials change by automatically updating credential-on-file information for merchants. Payments keep flowing without interruption and reduce the need to contact cardholders to obtain updated information. No more wasting time calling your customers every time a card is declined.
In the end, collections are never fun, but they’re an important part of your business. If you take advantage of these solutions, you’ll make it a lot easier for you and your team.
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