A customer’s relationship with your business does not end when the deal is closed and the work is done. In fact, there are many “post-sale” touch points, including invoicing and billing that can make or break an experience and stop a customer coming back for good. Recurring work is an important part of the pipeline for most businesses, as we cover in another blog, but what is your business doing to foster this strong customer relationship?
When it comes to high investment transactions, billing can be a sensitive time in a relationship, especially with new, uncertain clients. Customer loyalty will likely fall when it is handled poorly. Here are 4 ways invoicing could help you secure loyal clients instead of scaring them off when it’s time to pay the bills.
Transparency is key
It’s important to keep the client in the loop and be clear about what you are invoicing them for. For example, itemising the costs on the quote and invoice can help them to breakdown and understand the full amount. It shows them exactly what they’re paying for and can help a client to feel more at ease about the value they are receiving.
In other cases, it might make sense to not itemise – on huge complicated jobs, your customer might get overwhelmed and frustrated by information overload. Find the right level of information for your business that helps you communicate value, while still keeping it clear,
This becomes even more important when there is a change to the agreed price. Sometimes mistakes happen, or jobs outgrow the initial expectations set. Whether you bill the extra or absorb the cost, is still key that you inform the client so they can have a clear expectation around costing for this project, and the next one. Be transparent and explain the additional costs as early as possible.
Customer loyalty is an emotional tie of trust, and transparency helps the customer to empathise and not feel they have been “burned” by receiving a larger than expected bill.
Highlight what your customers are actually buying
It’s important to show the customer what they are really buying from you. When choosing a mechanic to service a car, a consumer may be willing to drive further and pay more for Mechanic A who has a 4.8 star rating on Google, instead of visiting local mechanic B, who has 3 stars. Why? Because what they are paying extra for is not the service, it’s the feeling of certainty they have made the right choice.
Your clients are much more likely to walk away happy if you can get them to focus on the value of what they are buying, not the cost. You can use your quotes and invoices to tap into this intangible value. Just by highlighting what you already do for them, you can make a customer “feel” that their experience was much better. For example, if you are adding on guarantees such as a free 12-month follow-up service, this could be included as a zero-cost line item on your quote and invoice.
It is key to work out the main benefits for using your product or service over your competitors and highlight that. Remember that expectation plays a huge role in satisfaction and therefore loyalty, so be sure to set a steady expectation, and give yourself room to surprise and delight your customers in the relationship.
Make it easy for your customers to pay
No matter if it’s businesses or consumers you target, everyone likes an easy experience. Making it easy for your customers to engage with your business at every step on the journey means they have less reasons to seek alternative solutions.
This can mean a few updates to your processes, including making sure you have adequate payment methods available to support how they do business. It may make sense to offer credit terms to clients to help them manage cash flow easier or to install an EFTPOS machine. This convenience when paying up can help to add on to the customer’s experience, creating greater overall satisfaction with their purchase. Think about the impact and cost these might have on your business, and how that weighs up against the convenience for your customers.
Another way you can make payment easier is with clear and consistent milestone invoicing. Creating clear and easy to follow milestones for your larger projects can help your customers pay-as-they-go and avoid a large single hit to their cash flow. Customers can rest easy when they trust that you are only invoicing for work done.
Understanding your own invoices
You can help create a smooth experience for your customers simply by understanding your own pricing. Being able to quote accurately and quickly can help to demonstrate certainty and clarity for your customers. You are also able to confidently have conversations early with customers about costs, reducing the chances for misunderstandings and poorly set expectations later on in the customer journey. A project management system can help you understand your actual project costs and quote and invoicing easily and with accuracy. Find out more.
Want extra help with invoicing?
WorkGuru is a project management solution that can help you with everything from quoting to the final invoice. If you are looking for a solution that can help you template your quotes and projects and quote clients faster and smoother then WorkGuru is a great fit.
Find out more about how WorkGuru can help you template your quotes, projects and more. Book in a free demo today.