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- Best Metrics for Key Performance Indicators
- Best Practices for Invoice Factoring
- Cash Flow
- Extending Credit to Customers
- How to Identify a Business Partner
- Increase Cash Flow
- Money Saving Tips
- Purchase Order Financing
- Setting Priorities
- Small Business Decision-Making
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- The Need for Optimism
6 Maxims To Guide Customer Service For Invoice Financing
Companies give lip service to providing better customer service, but more often than not, it’s hollow. Frequently, once a business sets you up in their system, what you get diverges widely from what you are promised.
Even if you’ve read the fine print and confirmed the process beforehand, when problems arise someone in a call center may give you the runaround. Does that pass for “responsiveness?”
Adding insult to injury, an automated survey then comes to your inbox asking “how we are doing?”
Why stand for that?
A business partner should be valuing the relationship more than that. A proactive partner offers assistance that is timely, practical and effective (from someone with more than half a brain). They intervene personally to get things done.
The business of invoice financing is no different. Here are 6 qualities that show customer service is not just a buzzword, but a principle to guide your selection of a factoring partner.
1. Flexibility. You should decide how much funding you need and when you need it. Factoring firms that require minimum factoring volumes every month put their needs first, not yours. If your business were not subject to ups and downs, it wouldn’t be so darn difficult to forecast.
A superior service provider, however, does not set monthly minimums and does not penalize a customer for early termination contracts. They trust their customer service will retain clients – not contracts. So seek out a factoring firm that is flexible enough to bend with circumstances, just as you cope with changing business conditions.
2. Timeliness. Look for a company that provides a solution to your cash requirements within 24 to 48 hours of invoices being approved. Don’t be left hanging; move forward as rapidly as possible.
3. A sole contact person. Ask yourself whether customer service wouldn’t be better if you always dealt with the same person. Of course it would! When you reach out to a firm, you want to speak with one person who understands your business inside and out, so nothing is lost in translation. Does your factoring firm do this, and if not, why not?
4. An online platform. The world has been getting away from paper trails since AOL opened in the 1990’s. So what’s up with old school firms that still shuffle paper? Look for a factoring firm with an online platform that enables invoice uploading, status queries and electronic approvals. Do not settle for less than a robust, web-based process.
5. No surprises. The advantage is with companies that follow up with your customers in a timely fashion so you see delays coming. There is nothing more irksome than business surprises. Ensure that you learn of bad news when the tip of the iceberg is spotted. Don’t be blindsided because your account is not sufficiently supervised.
6. You are a partner, not just a client. Does your invoice factoring company see you as a partner? Do they provide you the benefit of their business network, including valuable introductions that enable you to expand? Look for a factoring firm that knows how to provide mutual benefit and puts all their resources at your disposal.
When these best practices are evident in your invoice factoring partner, it will be a win-win that truly enables you to excel in your niche.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons 2.0, sheilaz417.