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When your customers are unresponsive to payment reminders or invoices, you have to take proactive steps to address the issue and ensure timely payment. If you don’t do this early-on in the relationship then bad habits will form and frankly, not paying on time is unprofessional, so you should consider whether you want a slow paying customer on the roster at all.

The absolute first thing you should do, because it might be an immediate route to payment — initiate direct communication with the customer through various channels, such as email, phone calls, and letters, to remind them of the outstanding invoice and inquire about any potential issues or concerns preventing payment.

72% of executives felt their AR department wasn’t customer-oriented enough. (Wakefield and Versapay)

If initial attempts are unsuccessful, escalating the matter to a higher level of authority within the customer’s organization or engaging a dedicated accounts receivable representative may be necessary.

However, again, if your customers are consistently paying invoices late or fail to make payments despite repeated reminders you will need to need to be more aggressive, while being graceful and professional.

To do this correctly payment terms need to be spelled out in your contract or service agreement and clear expectations need to be set up front by Sales. Consider penalties for late payment (although this rarely works), which can include implementing late payment fees or penalties, suspending further services or deliveries until outstanding payments are paid in full.

Ultimately, setting expectations up front and maintaining clear and consistent communication, while also enforcing payment terms and policies firmly but fairly, is key to managing overdue invoices and preserving positive relationships with customers while safeguarding the company’s financial stability.

78% of executives believed better communication could have resolved accounts receivable payment disputes. (Wakefield and Versapay)

Clean customer data is important for on-time customer payments

Clean customer data is absolutely crucial for ensuring timely payments. When customer data is accurate and up-to-date, it helps in identifying and reaching out to the right contacts responsible for making payments. It is the responsibility of Sales, Customer Success, Marketing and Support team members to maintain great CRM hygiene and data accuracy throughout the customer journey.

Clean and up-to-date customer billing contact information ensures that invoices are sent to the correct individuals or departments, reducing the risk of delays caused by miscommunication or misrouting.

35% of finance leaders cited difficulty communicating with customers as the biggest inhibitor in their collections processes. (SSON and Versapay)

For the Marketers out there, accurate data facilitates more accurate personalized communication with customers, which can strengthen relationships and encourage timely payments.

Clean and up-to-date customer data streamlines the invoicing process, minimizes errors, and enhances the efficiency of accounts receivable management, ultimately contributing to improved cash flow and financial stability for your business.

Following up with customers consistently is key

While its important to follow up with customers per the contract when it comes to billing, its also easy for communication to fall through the cracks due to other priorities or lack of resources. With that said, it’s crucial to have a dedicated person on your team following up with customers who have delinquent invoices and to send accounts receivable reminders early. There are several reasons for this:

Timely follow-ups demonstrate professionalism and commitment to financial integrity, showing customers that their payments are a priority. Taking a proactive approach can help prevent small issues from escalating into larger ones and help maintain positive relationships with customers.

41% of finance leaders considered the speed of payments to be the biggest challenge in their collections processes. (SSON and Versapay)

Consider early payment reminders, they serve as gentle nudges to prompt customers to address outstanding invoices promptly, reducing the risk of late or missed payments.

Having a designated team member handling accounts receivable ensures consistency and accountability in the follow-up process, increasing the likelihood of successful resolution and minimizing revenue losses due to unpaid invoices.


Offer incentives for early payment

As a closing tool to get customers onboarded, it can be a fun and helpful to point out incentives for paying early. Offering incentives for early payment can be an effective strategy to get customers to pay their invoices on time and create a win-win situation for both parties. Customers benefit from cost savings or additional value, while you improve your cash flow and reduce the risk of late payments.

Offer flexible payment options

Make it easy for your customers to buy from you by offering flexible payment options. By providing various convenient methods such as online payment portals, credit card payments, or electronic fund transfers, you cater to different customer preferences and circumstances. This flexibility not only simplifies the payment process but also increases the likelihood of timely payment.

Use automated reminders

Using technology to automate yet personalize communication is key to getting customers to pay on time. Implementing automated reminders for customers as payment due dates approach can significantly improve on-time payments. By leveraging email, text messages, or automated phone calls, you can gently nudge customers to take action and settle their invoices promptly. As a result, your customers will be more likely to stay on top of their payment obligations, leading to improved cash flow and stronger financial stability for your business.

Conduct regular account reviews

Leverage your customer success or account management organizations to conduct quarterly business reviews (QBRs). Regular account reviews play a crucial role in ensuring timely payments from customers. By conducting frequent reviews of customer accounts, you can easily identify any overdue invoices and take necessary actions to address them. Regular account reviews also provide insights into payment patterns and customer behavior, allowing you to tailor your approach to collections and better anticipate future payment challenges.

That’s a wrap!

And that’s a wrap! In this article we reviewed strategies for how to get customers to pay on time. We uncovered that it all comes down to a few key items including: expectations during the sales process, clearly outlined payment terms in the contract, incentives and flexibility with pricing, consistent & personal customer communication and a dedicated resource for account follow-up.

Implementing effective strategies for getting unresponsive customers to pay invoices is essential for maintaining healthy cash flow and sustaining your operations. It’s also crucial to remain proactive in addressing overdue invoices and to maintain open communication with customers to resolve any issues promptly.

Harper James can help you with your A/R collections, we provide outsourced, dedicated outreach, customer payment confirmation and other services. Click here to learn more.

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