The Secret to Better AR in Technology Firms? Mastering Customer Communication

Thursday, Mar 16th 2023
Customer Communication

As a technology organization, you’re used to being on the cutting edge of innovation. So, why would you leave priority AR activities — like customer communications — to archaic manual processes?

Without the proper digital infrastructure, it can be difficult to effectively manage customer contact. This leads to late payments, rising DSO, dissatisfied customers, and stalled cash flow.

Research shows that 39% of late payments are due to poor customer service  

Adopting an automation solution is a common-sense method for improving customer communication. Still, most organizations find that they need to establish a balance between the efficiency automation offers and the importance of a human touch. 

Master Customer Communication

Automating the communication process allows accounts receivable representatives to ensure that communications, such as invoice delivery and follow-up payment reminders, are sent out on a set schedule. Rather than the labor-intensive task of composing and delivering individual messages, templates can be used with communications that are delivered automatically.  

In addition, AR automation software allows employees to input rules, such as sending an automatic reminder if a particular communication is not opened. Each of these features ensures that requests for payment are delivered in a timely manner and issues are kept top of mind for customers. 

“Intense competition, volatile capital markets, and investor scrutiny are putting pressure on technology companies to constantly review and adapt their corporate strategies.” - Boston Consulting Group  

As more companies adopt technology to support their customer service, the ability to provide a personalized experience is becoming a key differentiator that businesses use to stand apart from the competition.

“Many organizations do not recognize that customer experience is a true differentiator and can impact their profitability and success...making sure your customer is successful isn’t a job or a strategy; it is what ultimately allows you to be successful (or not).” - Victoria Zambito, Forbes Council Member & EVP of Communications & Brand at Vector Solutions

Using a solution with customizable workflows also allows AR reps to make sure that messages reach the relevant party. For instance, a lack of response or payment may require an escalation. Automated communication workflows can also be used to ensure that more general messaging — such as company updates or changes in policy — gets sent to the right party. In fact, you can create programs for each customer segment you work with — such as an accounting manager who may need more day-to-day billing information, to a CFO, who is interested in bigger-picture financial information. From a customer experience point of view, this keeps inboxes from being bombarded with communications that are not relevant to their position.

Some accounts receivable software offers an even greater degree of customization, so that messaging can be automated and tailored to individual accounts. As a result, no account is ever left feeling like they are receiving impersonal communications.

Optimize Customer Experience

Communication is a two-way street, and how you manage and respond to customer queries is just as important as the messages you send out. When customers have questions or concerns, there’s no better way to lose their confidence than failing to respond in a timely manner or in a manner that does not address the issue.

When customers have a concern, are they able to let you know easily? If they have questions about their account, do they have to call in and spend time waiting on hold? If they have a problem with their invoice, are they able to quickly raise the issue and have it resolved?

Automation software can help with this as well, particularly when a solution includes a customer service portal. Customers should be able to log in, view their account vital account information—such as open invoices—and take actions such as making a payment or raising an invoice dispute.

“53% of businesses believe their customers are very satisfied with their self-service offerings, but only 15% of consumers agree” - 2022 Digital-First Customer Experience Report, NICE

In the case of a dispute, the best AR automation solutions utilize artificial intelligence which analyzes the nature and severity of the issue. With that information, it then directs the data to the appropriate team member for speedy resolution.

This same type of technology can be applied to regular customer inquiries as well, with certain AR solutions offering ‘digital assistants’ that scan inbound customer emails and inquiries, appropriately categorizing communications and recommending actions to take.

By helping answer questions and resolve disputes quickly, these features remove roadblocks to speedy payment, decreasing DSO and improving cash flow. Just as importantly, they help optimize customer experience, increasing brand loyalty and growing the lifetime value of your accounts.

To learn how Quadient AR helps you master customer communications, download our white paper Customer Communications: Your Most Overlooked Super Power in AR.