How to quickly resolve any payment disputes
Unfortunately, when trading on credit terms, there will be times when your customers dispute an invoice.
Whether it’s because they don’t agree with your prices, there’s a mistake on the invoice or they claim the service wasn’t complete, your invoice dispute management skills and processes can impact the speed at which you get paid.
If any payment disputes are identified, it is important to ensure they are resolved as quickly as possible and the cash flow impact mitigated.
Here are seven ways to resolve payment disputes:
1. Ask for part payment
A common mistake when dealing with payment disputes is trying to resolve the issue first. Customers that dispute part of an invoice may be doing so to bide some time, so to avoid falling into this trap ask them to pay the undisputed part before attempting to resolve the dispute. This will not only indicate whether it’s a valid excuse for late payment, but also ease the cash flow pressure on your business that’s caused by the delay.
2. Don’t be afraid to confront the issue
Many business owners find the process of chasing customers for payment daunting and they let the fear of upsetting their customers stop them for pushing for payment. But it’s important to face the problem head on as the longer you wait, the harder it is to collect payment. Most invoice disputes can be handled by a simple conversation and need not be daunting at all.
3. Speak to the right person
When a payment dispute is identified make sure you are talking to the person in charge of paying the invoice. Having the appropriate contact within the customer’s business on file will speed up this process. Make sure you collect this information prior to sending out the invoice so that there is no delay when a dispute arises.
4. Be prepared
Handling payment disputes automatically becomes easier if you have facts and evidence to hand. Keep a record of all correspondence, proofs of delivery and invoices so that you can prove what you are owed and why. It’s likely that with this information your dispute can be resolved more quickly.
5. Remain professional
Unfortunately, the nature of payment disputes means that sometimes it can get ugly. But, regardless of your client’s behaviour, it’s important to always remain professional and mature. Be objective and firm. Understand the client’s situation, and don’t forget to be rational. Calmly address the issue, and offer a solution if needed.
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- Your options when an invoice becomes overdue
6. Think ahead
Overdue invoices owed by customers who repeatedly dispute invoices should be made high priority and paid particular attention to. To protect yourself in future transactions, ask for full or partial payment upfront from those you are suspicious of.
If the disputes turn out to be genuine, then ensure that constructive feedback is given to the department/person responsible for the dispute to ensure that other customers do not end up with same issues in the future.
It can also be worth turning any lessons learnt into a formal invoice dispute management process, so your team knows what to do in the event customers dispute invoices going forward. To start you off, here are five of the most common payment disputes and how to handle them.
If your business is struggling to settle a payment dispute, talk to us. As a commercial debt collection agency, we have more than 20 years’ experience of helping our clients resolve disputes and get paid faster through our range of debt recovery services. Contact us today on 0800 9774848 or get an instant debt recovery quote here.