Businesses strive to deliver great customer service because if customers have a poor sales experience, they will be unlikely to buy. However, it’s also important customers are happy when the time comes to pay. If they aren’t, they will be less likely to buy again. Unfortunately, there are a number of ways accounts receivable (AR) can get it wrong including inflexible payment options, poor customer communications and one department not knowing what’s happening in another. An integrated AR management platform can turn such a situation around to drive customer satisfaction through an improved experience.

This is the fourth in our blog series examining how to optimise AR processes to improve business efficiency, cash flow and customer satisfaction. The first considered the commoditisation of AR to deliver business improvements, the second accelerating cash flow and the third, artificial intelligence in forecasting. Here, we focus on how, through technology, customer satisfaction with AR collections can be improved.

Integrating systems to share data

The foundation of a good customer experience is good data. If AR relies on inaccurate data that gets contact details or account histories wrong, customers won’t get the experiences they deserve.

For this reason, any AR solution must be integrated with complementary systems in the business. These are likely to include enterprise resource planning (ERP) and finance systems. AR will utilise data from these, and potentially other, systems to drive a streamlined process.

According to market research and analyst firm SMB Group, small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) rate integration difficulties joint second in the challenges they face when implementing technology. Effective and simple systems integration should therefore be a prime consideration when choosing an AR platform. Look out for the following capabilities:

  • Pre-built connectors – essentially ‘plug and play’, a pre-built connector makes getting up and running quick and simple for businesses using popular ERP finance systems
  • API – the ability to build integration using an application programming interface (API), which enables two applications to ‘talk’ to each other
  • CSV – supplied templates to import data via simple, plain text comma-separated values (CSV) files.

A better customer experience

The AR platform, equipped with the most up-to-date, reliable data automates manual, day-to-day AR tasks and streamlines processes. This makes for a more efficient, time and cost effective way of working but it also helps deliver a satisfying customer experience.

It does this in three ways:

  1. Customer self-serve

We are all used to quick and convenient digital ways of getting things done. In our personal lives we provide meter readings online, check bank and credit card statements and make payments. Businesses that provide an online portal give customers autonomy over their interactions. They can check the status of their account, look back at their usage or purchase history and make updates.

This saves customers time as it puts everything they need at hand; they don’t have to call to get a copy of an invoice or raise a query and they can check details whenever they want, including out of hours. They can make payments through the portal and access all documents including invoices.
 

  1. Improved communications

Customers want clear, precise communications sent to the right person at the right time in the right way. If they prefer emails, a letter may go ignored; if their accounts payable processes are paper-based, they’ll want to receive your invoice that way.

Automated, tailored communications are made possible through the AR platform. It draws on the most up-to-date customer information to generate reminders at the optimal time and send communications through customers’ preferred methods.

 

  1. Account knowledge

Customers don’t want to feel like the company they’re buying from hasn’t got a clue about the status of their account. They don’t want to be chased for payment by one person, only to be contacted by someone else who has no idea that a conversation has taken place.

To deliver a great customer experience, communication has to be as good within the business as it is with customers outside the business. An AR platform centralises and streamlines activities to avoid duplicate communications and to keep all parts of the business up to date, so they have a better understanding of the status of a customer’s account.

An integrated AR management platform helps drive customer satisfaction by delivering the best possible experience. This is through good customer communication, options to self-serve, and a joined-up approach within the business that clearly demonstrates it knows its customers. Satisfied customers are more likely to pay on time and be loyal because they know that when payment becomes due, it will be simple and painless.

To find out more about how your business could benefit from an integrated AR management platform, take a look at YayPay by Quadient.

Warren Moir

Warren Moir

Software Sales Enablement Manager

An experienced enablement and partnerships manager, Warren helps customers realise the benefits of their investment in AR solutions. With 20 years of experience working in the computer software and accounting industry, Warren partners effectively with buyers, administrators and finance users of AR management platforms to ensure a smooth transition and the rapid building of skills within organisations. Warren designs, develops and delivers training development programmes and provides subject matter expertise to AR departments making the move to automated AR functionality.

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