Resolve Customer Billing Disputes Promptly

Every business has its share of slow-paying customers and plain old bad apples who won't settle up without making a fuss. During the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, this is likely to be more true than ever.

Stack of cash

Still, some companies always seem to be embroiled in lengthy and counterproductive billing disputes with their customers, in any economy. Be careful that your business doesn't fall into that rut. Here are some general principles to consider.

If you find that more than 5% to 10% of your accounts receivable are late because they are in the "dispute" category, take corrective action to shift them into the "paid" category.

Review your accounts receivable for signs of collection problems, which generally fall into these basic categories of customers:

Once you have that overall picture, try taking these three steps to get better results from that last category of intransigent customers:

  1. Set strict deadlines for resolving billing disputes.
  2. Post credits and corrections immediately once a dispute is resolved.
  3. Notify customers that the disputes and errors have been corrected.

Resolving billing disputes promptly gives you a better chance of collecting past due accounts — and keeping customers as the economy eventually returns to normal.

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