The local newsagency is one of the few businesses where a customer can open an account without providing a personal guarantee or going through any form of credit check.
Too often I see newsagency businesses where there is little or no management of these accounts. Here are my suggestions for best practice customer account management:
- Have all customers complete an account application form with verified address details.
- Get from all account customers a copy of their driver’s licence showing their address. Keep this on file.
- If they are making a regular purchase, ask their first few transactions to be paid for at the time of purchase as good faith.
- If they are making a special order, request either a deposit or full up front payment if you are unable to return the goods they have requested.
- Request all orders be in writing so you have evidence of the order.
- Include an invoice with all goods supplied.
- Provide a statement monthly with your trading terms clearly indicated.
- Know what money you make on everything – accounts cost money and this needs to be considered if you are also giving an account customer a discount.
Tight account management sends a message to your customers and your employees about th professionalism of the business. The more professional you are the less likely anyone will steal from you.