Businesses' success or failure hinges on the customer experience. Customer experience is the result of every interaction a customer has with your business – from marketing and sales, through to invoicing and payment - and it plays a large role in determining if a customer is going to do business with you again.
Making the investment in this area will not only positively affect your customers, it will greatly impact your business as well. The Temkin Group found that companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to earn, on average, an additional $700 million within 3 years of investing in customer experience.
So, what is the often-overlooked secret to delivering an exceptional customer experience and keeping customers coming back? Optimize, automate, and improve your back-office, including your AR process.
Each touchpoint a customer has with your business plays a role in their decision to work with your company again. Relying on cumbersome, manual AR practices can make the invoicing and payments process extremely painful for your customers. Fast, secure, and convenient payment options drive repeat sales and improve the overall customer experience.
Here are some of the ways your AR process is affecting your customer experience:
The main issue for companies with an outdated AR process is the lack of an open, 2-way communication channel with their customers and the difficulty that causes when issues inevitably arise. Countless phone calls are made and emails are sent to your customers by your AR team trying to resolve issues surrounding invoices. It's a resource drain for you, but it’s also a burden to your customers. Your customers keep different hours, they work in different locations and they all have different preferences on when and how they want to communicate with you. You need to provide them a channel that allows for that variety. You need to make things as simple and straight forward as possible for your customers.
Optimizing your AR process by implementing a customer portal provides a central location for your customers to view invoices and communicate in real-time. Your team can easily communicate with your customers, settle disputes and perform other activities that accelerate payment. No calling and emailing back and forth is required as the customer is able to directly ask questions and communicate in a meaningful and trackable way creating a better customer experience.
Another huge problem for customers is the lack of access to their own account history. Most traditional AR processes don’t allow for customers to easily view past invoices and charges which, without meaning to, can result in customer not paying past amounts. It takes much longer for customers to evaluate what needs to be paid, when, and to whom, when the information is not all in one central location. Aged receivables then begin to build and the customer-supplier relationship is negatively affected.
AR automation platforms provide complete visibility to all invoices past and present, acting as a single source of truth for your customers’ charges. Both parties can view invoice and payment history meaning customers are always aware of charges owing. This ease of access eliminates the back and forth communication that would normally be needed to solve this issue. Customers these days are looking for self-service, and giving them all the information in a centralized location will allow them to do so.
Method of payment
Customers want to pay the way they want to pay. Most companies’ AR processes today do not cater for all of the payment methods customers use. By limiting their ability to pay via their preferred methods, you are decreasing the probability that they are going to pay you, and pay you on time.
Using an accounts receivables software that accepts a wide variety of payment methods will allow your customers to pay their invoices the way they want – with credit card, ACH, EFT, checks and more - which can be settled into a number of accounts and lockboxes. It significantly increases the simplicity of the payment process and, more importantly, will improve your overall customer experience. Putting the customer and their needs first should be your top priority.
To put your customer’s at the center of your accounts receivables process, you need a CRM for your AR. A solution like VersaPay ARC allows you to manage your relationships with your customers in one central location. Today’s digital age is making your customers want to self-serve in the fastest and easiest way possible. Expectations in our personal lives have carried forwards into our work lives and companies must try to meet those changing expectations or risk losing business. Give your customers what they deserve: a seamless, easy-to-use AR process.