We have strengthened the final paragraph of our cover letter which goes out with bills to say "We are always interested in understanding our value proposition from the client’s point of view. The enclosed bill is a suggested payment amount. If you believe the bill should either higher or lower, or have any questions about the bill or the value provided, we encourage you to contact us. We are always happy to discuss our billing and make sure our clients are only paying for value provided."
As you know from previous posts, we provide tremendous detail with our billing. Since I dictate my time entries, I am able to include a lot more information about what was done, why it was done and what outcome I’m expecting by the activity. We also include a three to four page cover letter on the bill reminding clients about our billing policies, telling them what we did the previous month, whether we stayed in budget and what we are projecting by way of tasks and budgets for the upcoming month. The letters are not only valuable for clients, they ensure the firm is staying focused on the client’s goals and staying within budget. I hope clients call and ask about the amount billed and engage us in active discussion about goals and value. It is my belief that those discussions are the very foundation of a solid business relationship with your clients. If I can’t justify the value which we billed, then we probably shouldn’t have billed it in the first place. If our client isn’t convinced that they received value, we need to know that so we can communicate the proposition better on a moving forward basis.