Many companies underestimate the impact of what a poor Accounts Receivable process can ultimately make on customer experience.
In fact, according to Emplifi, it just takes two poor customer experiences for 86% of customers to leave a brand they trusted. So though you may have them hooked on your brand, it takes just a few frustrations for them to unhook for life.
“I thought I already paid this invoice. Can you check again?”
“Hmm I think I must have missed the invoice. Can you send it again?”
“Well how do you expect me to pay if I never received the invoice?”
Do these questions sound familiar?
If so, it’s a signal that it might be time to give your Accounts Receivables process a serious revamp so that you can create the best customer experience possible and maximize retention.
Let’s uncover 4 ways you can give your AR process a tune-up:
1. A single source of truth
Some companies are using up to 4 different platforms to facilitate their end-to-end revenue management process. Therefore customer data discrepancies between platforms can happen easily.
Having errors on a customer’s invoice is not only frustrating for them, but can also signal that the business lacks attentiveness to their needs. Furthermore, customers can move locations and change their buying behavior over time, which means that any systems and processes employed need to be malleable to keep up to date with these changes in real time.
Therefore it is imperative that businesses unify their customer data collection across platforms and maintain accurate records of their product and service preferences, payment terms, location, key contacts for invoicing, preferred payment modes, and any previous service or support interactions that they have had. Moreover, if a customer has a change in situation, there needs to be a streamlined process in place, where they can easily update their account on an as-needs basis. This is where having a customer self-serve portal can become a powerful tool to ensure the customer has autonomy to keep their data in check.
2. Understand and segment customers
While sending an invoice might feel like a very tactical part of the business to just ensure revenue gets collected, it is actually so much more than that. It’s another touchpoint for communication and an opportunity for your customers to feel like they are appreciated and receiving a personalized experience.
Depending on their location, the nature of the products and services they’ve engaged with, the size of their business, their industry, and even their credit risk, each customer can have a completely different payment behavior. Therefore by understanding the nuances in their profile and segmenting customers based on these characteristics, you can ensure they are invoiced at a time they are most likely engaged and ready to take action on payment.
Hence, it’s vital that you have a billing and invoicing system in place that can allow for enhanced customization and to facilitate unique invoicing cycles for each customer. This customization could even involve tailoring the billing model to a standard, flex, on-demand, or order-based method.
3. Have top notch payment recognition workflows in place
There is nothing more frustrating when you receive a payment reminder once an invoice has actually been settled. However this can occur all too often if there aren’t the appropriate workflows in place to recognize revenue in real-time and update a customer’s billing account.
Furthermore, without powerful accounts receivables reporting tools that are updated in real time, the billing platform itself could be conveying inaccurate information about outstanding invoices.
Fortunately, through leveraging a billing platform with Open APIs that can integrate with payment platforms and banking providers, businesses can easily configure workflows to ensure that when a payment is received, that payment is accurately recorded against that customer’s account.
4. Be on the front foot of non-payments
No business or customer is immune to payment failures. Most often they don’t happen due to ill intentions, but rather where there may be expired credit cards, unexpected network downtimes, insufficient funds, or customers having direct issues with their banking providers.
While automated retries and generic dunning emails might seem like a quick fix, it could easily spiral into a bad customer experience.
As a result, it’s important to build a communication sequence that makes your customer feel like they are on a personalized call with a helpful representative from your support team. This entails giving them context as to why the payment might have failed, and providing helpful next steps on how it can be resolved. If the issue occurred on their end, you can make suggestions on what they can do to prevent it. Alternatively, if it was an issue on your end, you can apologize and give them assurance of how the issue will be attended to.
Being fully transparent in communication goes a long way to building trust and loyalty. With the right advanced billing platform in place, you can easily set up these automated email templates that are customized based on the payment failure issue at hand.
To dive deeper into how you can deploy an advanced billing platform that enables you to leverage customer segmentation, invoicing and communication customization, and configure advanced workflows and dunning processes, take a tour of the OneBill platform today.