What Customers Expect From an Invoice
Field service businesses rely on delivering personable customer service. It’s that simple. Whether you provide pest control or tree trimming services, your business must provide friendly customer service that exceeds expectations. However, many field service businesses deliver friendly customer service that exceeds expectations but fail to deliver the easiest customer service point that only requires the use of basic small business software.
They fail to deliver a professional invoice.
What customers expect from an invoice doesn’t require you to earn a Ph.D. in business management. It only requires you to apply common sense or in other words, put yourself in the shoes of customers that receive your field service invoices.
It Starts with Dollars and Cents
Most field service businesses operate from contracts that include a mutually agreed upon price of a project. If you send an invoice containing a price that differs from the contract price, you have violated the most important step in the invoice process. Overcharging gives customers the impression that you operate a shady field service business. Yet, undercharging also sullies your field service business’ reputation by implying that you lack the organization skills to get the price right for a project.
You can check every invoice manually to ensure accuracy, but the most effective way to get your invoice prices right involves using software that produces accurate invoice prices.
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Simplicity Rules The Day
Field service invoices for small businesses should never appear like a document that requires an Ivy League scholar to decipher. Invoice statements should include simple business language that your customers easily understand. Any complex legal language immediately turns off customers and eventually, turns them away to competitors. The layout of your invoices should provide several places for you to clearly state the due date and amount owed. With snail mail losing its grip on communication, email represents the most efficient way to send out invoices. Make sure to send invoices via email attachments and not present the invoice in the body of the email.
No Payment Date, No Payment
You can perform a comprehensive business analysis and still forget to set a payment date on your field service invoices. Whenever you neglect to set a payment due date on an invoice, your customer feels the payment isn’t important to you. After the payment due date, you contact the customer. The customer mentions the blank part of the invoice that establishes a payment due date. You have no legal recourse to receive payment. Customers expect you to put a due date on an invoice as part of your customer service program.
A Professional Invoice Includes The Services Provided
During the invoice process, you can’t expect customers to pay for field services that you don’t list on an invoice. For example, a small landscaping business must itemize each expense on an invoice to ensure customer payment. Sending out a poorly designed invoice that only lists the price of a project prompts a customer to put your invoice at the bottom of a must do list. Superior customer service includes sending invoices that itemize each expense that produces the invoice price.
Invoice Process Requires Details
Customers want you to provide details on how to pay the invoice. A professional invoice includes the following details:
- Billing Terms
- Late payment charges
- Purchase order number and Invoice number
- Your business contact information
A professional invoice should never frustrate customers. By using field service software, you create a professional invoice that only presents important billing information and more important, alerts you when you leave out one or more important details.
The Age of Digital Communication
You don’t need to conduct an intricate business analysis to learn that a vast majority of customers prefer to receive invoices via email. Digital invoices help customers maintain an organized file of bills to pay while giving your small business less paperwork to manage. Some customers prefer snail mail invoicing and you must accommodate their wishes by including a return envelope that pays your bills. Field service software that manages invoices includes automatic alerts for sending digitally created invoices.
Small field service businesses depend on cash flow to make it through each day. The best way to ensure the cash keeps coming in is to create a professional invoice template by using field service business software. Customer service starts with hiring friendly and knowledgeable team members, but it ends by paying attention to what matters most: Making sure the invoice process gets you paid on time.