In this age of seemingly endless “disruptive” finance technologies, there are a number of areas where CFOs can choose to invest. The key is to invest in the technologies that will benefit your customers, your end-users, and your organization not just now, but over the long term.
One area that bears heavy consideration for those disruption dollars is your customer experience. Though not normally considered the responsibility of the AR or finance teams, keeping customers happy must be a shared duty. Why? Because today’s customers demand it. For a customer to be truly happy – to the point where they part with money, repeatedly, and recommend others to do the same – they require a great experience with every interaction, including post-sale billing and payments.
The accounts receivable process has a vital impact on the customer experience. If it’s easy, seamless and quick, the customer will remember it as one part of a great experience. If it’s long, complicated and cumbersome, the customer will remember it instead of the great experience. Investing in ways to provide a pleasant and predictable accounts receivable process is vital to organizational success.
Customers want to pay you in full and on time but become deterred by complicated and inconvenient systems. Automating the accounts receivable process, from invoice presentment to collections, and providing self service payment portals, makes it easy for your customers to pay you. The right AR automation solution also provides you with tools to further encourage early payment behavior.
Here are three ways AR automation can be used to entice early payments:
1. Leverage Data to Evaluate and Affect Customer Behaviors
Data measures behavior and can therefore be used to drive behavior. The right accounts receivable technology solution can provide detailed information on many behavioral metrics, including:
- Aged trial balances
- Top overdue accounts, corporate-wide or on a divisional basis
- Average days to pay (ADP)
- Days sales outstanding (DSO)
- Top reason codes for short-payments
This type of information gives finance executives a clear view of the big picture and provides AR staff the information they need to drive desired customer behaviors, including early payments.
2. Strengthen Customer Relationships
Technology can be used to enhance human relationships. By implementing technology to automate the accounts receivable process, your relationship with your customers can be strengthened in the following ways:
- Cloud-based accounts receivable platforms provide AR professionals with the real-time data they need to properly understand the customer, allowing them to customize their interactions and communications.
- Intuitive, self-service payment portals provide customers 24/7 access to view invoices, make inquiries, initiate disputes, communicate directly with you, and even make payments – all in just a few clicks – any time that they wish.
- Every customer interaction is tracked, and communications are marked as read so that individuals can be held accountable to their actions – staff and customers alike.
- Reporting functions can highlight accounts that require special attention so that the AR team can tailor communications to those customers, enticing them to pay on time or early.
3. Provide Multiple Easy Methods of Payment
One way to entice customers to pay early is by eliminating barriers to pay. AR automation platforms allow you to offer multiple ways for your customers to pay, such as:
- Credit card payments
- Virtual credit cards
- Pre-authorized debit (PAD) agreements
- and more.
By implementing an accounts receivable automation solution, you can reduce slow-paying and non-paying customers. Utilizing the solution to further enable early payment behaviors is a sure-fire way to improve collections, enable positive experiences and to foster necessary transformational change.
Interested in learning more about AR automation or how VersaPay can help your business? Contact us here.