You know who the accounting person is at your client’s office because you called seven days after mailing the invoice. And now it is time to call that same person again. We call this the 28 day payment call. The seven day call only asked if the invoice was received. This call is different:
“Hi, this is account receivables from 123 Lumber. According to my notes you received our invoice number 6789 on the tenth. Are we going to be on this Friday’s check run?”
What can happen?
“Yes.” That’s great. You are getting paid!
“Not this week’s. Next Friday.” Great! You are getting paid next Friday.
“Well there is a problem. There are too many splinters in your wood…” You are prepared, and reply, “my notes show we spoke three weeks ago. You did not mention a problem with too many splinters in the wood. Can you give me a heads up next time? You have my extension, right.”
Is this call an important step? It is if in your business you think making payroll is important.
Here again, communicate based on the client. You might adjust the times of your calls. You want 100% of your calls answered.
What if you encounter more problems on this call? You might find out that the customer is really dissatisfied. This is another reason that the person doing these calls should be trained and read this book.
The caller must be sensitive enough to listen to possible problems that might be brought up and have the judgment to recognize when to escalate the issue. Not having this 28 day call in place could mean that you only learn of problems when the bill is 90 days late.
A typical small business that has no calling program will start to wonder what is wrong when a bill has really aged. The longer you wait, the harder it might become to resolve issues. You don’t want to hear, “We are not paying this,” months later. You want to know what is wrong ASAP.
Which of the following items would you rather learn in 28 days vs. 90 days?
- Mistake in the order you shipped.
- Client considering filing bankruptcy.
- Dissatisfaction with your sales representative.
- New employee at client does not know the purpose of your invoice.
- Client experienced theft of other major problem.
- Client has left you for competition. Your invoice “can wait.”
- You made a mistake on your bill to the client.
- Partners at client’s business are in feud.
- Client has moved or closed.
- You are about to get sued.
- A personal matter of your client will affect future business.
- Client has IRS or legal problems.
If you said you would rather know about any of these in 28 days as opposed to 90 or more, you have reasons to implement and stick to the 28 day calling program.