Blog

21 August

The Demand for Customer Self-Service in B2B

Better customer service starts with better communication and collaboration. And in today’s competitive climate, businesses must offer their customers the most effective channels of communication possible. In a world of interactive voice response systems, self-checkout at grocery stores, and online superstores such as Amazon, an increasing number of customers say they prefer self-service over speaking with a representative.

According to a recent survey, two-thirds of respondents said they preferred Web-based self-service over talking on the phone with a company representative.  

Seventy-five per cent said that in general, they believe self-service is a more convenient way to address customer service issues.

According to a recent Forrester Research report, when reflecting on companies they do business with, more business customers are asking the question: Is this company giving me what I need and making the interaction easy and enjoyable? 

If a company is making a customer’s life easier, the customer will choose to stay with them rather than defect to a competitor. Pricing on its own is no longer as strong a driver of loyalty in most industries. Rather, it is the overall value equation customers feel they receive. Forrester research recommends that companies should compete for customers based on the experience provided, and not solely on price.

The Internet of Things has us witnessing change in everything we know. As business-to-business customers migrate online, companies have to rethink their strategies to differentiate their offerings. What area is ripe for improvement? They need to look at the online experience they provide to potential and current customers, and not just during the sales process. To really differentiate themselves, businesses should focus on their order-to-cash process including invoicing, accounts receivable processes and ultimately getting paid.

electronic-invoicing

Self-service web-based invoicing and payment platforms are becoming increasingly important in delivering exceptional customer service. Some businesses may be hesitant to introduce this service to their customers. They worry it will hurt their relationship with customers by taking away a personal touch. However, a cloud-based AR solution is far more likely to bring a business closer to its customers. As a business grows and develops a large customer base, there comes a need for more and more one-to-one attention, but how is that achieved?

By providing customers with 24/7 self-service access to their own account information, they can answer their own daily questions regarding invoices and payments. This frees up the time AR and account management people spend addressing low value AR tasks (e.g. resending invoices), and affords them the time to proactively collaborate with customers on more meaningful conversations about the long-term business relationship. Simply put, routine and repeat day-to-day administrative inquiries are eliminated, which makes way for constructive, loyalty building, and growth oriented account management activities. And that is just the beginning…

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