It is no secret that the key to avoiding bad debt and write-offs is getting your customers to pay their final bills. Today, let’s take a look at some steps you can take to improve your final bill collection rate.

Timeliness of Sending Final Bills

How frequently do you mail final bills?

  • If you bill once a month (or less frequently) do you wait until the next regular billing to send final bills?
  • If you bill several times a month, do you still mail final bills with the next regular billing cycle for any customers who have left?

If you answered “yes” to either question, I encourage you to consider sending final bills more frequently. I recommend mailing final bills every week, for accounts that were closed during the previous week, even if it means only printing a few bills. It is only human nature that the sooner someone receives a bill, the better likelihood that they will pay the bill. Anyone who has ever moved to a new home or apartment is well aware that there are expenses associated with the move. And you want to be sure that your final bill is paid before your former customer starts buying furniture for their new home!

Get a Forwarding Address

When a customer calls to let you know that they will be moving and requests that you terminate their service, do you ask for a forwarding address? If not, I strongly encourage you to start doing so. Only the most conscientious of customers will make an attempt to pay a bill they never received. Being sure that your customers receive their final bills is the single most effective way to insure that they will pay that final bill.

US Postal Service Endorsements

Applying the proper US Postal Service endorsement makes a big difference as to what is done with a bill if you mail it to your former customer’s old address and they have a change of address on file with the Postal Service. Below is a table of the four types of endorsements offered by the Postal Service:

Source: http://pe.usps.com/text/qsg300/Q507d.htm

As you can see, which type of endorsement you use makes a difference as to what happens if the bill can’t be delivered as addressed. I encourage you to be sure that you are using the type of endorsement that best suits your organization’s needs.

Do you send delinquent notices to final billed accounts?

If you don’t send delinquent notices to final billed accounts, I recommend that you start. In the confusion of moving and getting settled in a new home, bills can be misplaced. Often, a delinquent notice is all a customer needs to remind them that they haven’t paid their final bill.

If you have questions about your final bill procedures, please give me a call at 919-232-2320 or e-mail me at gsanders@logicssolutions.com.

Click here to subscribe to my free, bi-weekly e-mail newsletter...

© 2011 Gary Sanders