Common Delay Tactic: Didn’t Get the Invoice

1 Oct

Missing Invoice

Lost foundYou nudge your customer for payment of an invoice, but he claims he never received it. Buying time with this age-old excuse isn’t uncommon… probably because it’s just such an easy one to use!

There are a number of questions to ask when you hear this excuse. Each one puts the pressure on to cut the check and get the invoice resolved. Ask your customer these questions:

  • What address should our invoices normally be mailed?
  • To whose attention should we address our invoices?
  • Have you recently changed your mailing address?
  • To whom should this specific invoice copy be sent?
  • The invoice in question corresponds to purchase order number ___. Is this number valid?
  • Have you located receiving documents for this item?
  • Is the only thing hindering this payment the absence of an invoice?
  • I can fax/email the invoice now. Can this invoice be processed and paid this week?

Asking these questions does a couple things:

  1. It gets to the bottom of the ‘lost’ invoice. Maybe you did somehow have incorrect information or perhaps their address change didn’t make its way to the A/R department. Either way, it gets cleared up for future invoices.
  1. Putting the customer to the Q&A gauntlet will discourage the use of this excuse in the future for the purposes of buying time.

It’s important to keep a record of this kind of behavior from your customer. Spotting trends or habits can help you more easily spot a bogus excuse as opposed to a bone fide concern. If you have a hiccup in your own system, you may find it by tracking this kind of customer behavior.

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