Let’s face it – billing can be a boring job for the staff. It’s not exciting and not much changes except for names and amounts due. Now and then you hear a squeal of delight because of a new form or software to use! How exciting is that?
In reality, billing is one of the most vital areas of your business. You can’t survive if people don’t pay what they owe – and if no one sends out the bills, then no one sends in the payments. It’s not just billing, but rebilling again and again for past due accounts. All that time and effort to collect on one bill; the team is still not having any fun – and you’re still not getting the money that is owed.
So just how do you make the job a bit more fun for the billing team – and help your bottom line?
You bribe them! Well, not really a bribe – more an incentive – something along the lines of a friendly team competition. We know that sales staff typically compete among themselves, and it makes sense because there are specific benchmarks to go after: dollar volume, number of items sold, time frames and so on. How do you apply that same concept to billing?
Create specific benchmarks for the billing team to reach – and have clearly stated incentives or rewards. For instance:
- Encourage the team to look at the invoice itself – ask for ideas to improve the invoice. How clear is it? Are the amounts and due dates the first thing the customer sees on the page? Is it itemized? Does the form leave room for error?
Reward the billing team member who makes the best suggestion(s) for improvement.
- Are there monthly customer complaints that their bills are wrong?
Tell the team that the member with the fewest reported inaccuracies over a three-month period will be rewarded. Then do some retraining!
- Is there follow-up on past-due accounts beyond just sending another invoice? This is one of the most important benchmarks.
Create a monthly incentive for the team member whose follow-up efforts bring in the highest number of now paid in full accounts.
Incentives can be simple and affordable. A gift card to the local coffee shop is good. What employer perks can you offer? A cash bonus? Day off with pay? Company jacket? Flex hours for a week?
A little friendly competition in the office can lighten moods and relieve stress – and when it comes to billing and accounts receivable, make a big difference to the company’s checkbook.
Finally, bear in mind that none of this will make a noticeable difference if the billing team is not well-trained in the company’s billing process and policies from the start.