Customer billing and payments are as much an opportunity to provide excellent customer service as they are a core operational and accounting function. Leading companies leverage their billing and payments process to achieve far more than just the collections of payments; they use techniques to forge stronger customer relationships and gain greater insight into customer wants and needs.
The “consumerization” of technology has resulted in customer embrace of online billing. Businesses who successfully answer customer demand stand to gain increased customer confidence and satisfaction, as we well as enjoying a correspondingly improved corporate image.
The Council for Electronic Billing and Payment of the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) is credited with promoting and communicating various forms of electronic billing in the United States. Certain electronic billing applications also provide the ability to electronically settle payment for goods or services. Customers of banks and billing companies can utilize the internet to conveniently remit payment or access billing information. The service is also supported by customer service representatives, which may be contacted directly by the consumer or bill payer to facilitate payments or receive general assistance and answer questions. There are significant savings to traditional print and mailing invoices and remittance of payment.
The benefits accrue to the electronic payer and the electronic biller alike.
What was once a paper based and analog transaction has become a frictionless transaction whereby the buyer and seller meet virtually and exchange goods and services electronically along with invoicing and payment. The number of options for electronic billing and payments has exploded over the past few years. There are now multiple platforms for billing and multiple methods and platforms for payment. Much of the innovation has been sparked by the internet and more importantly smart phones which have accelerated the adoption of electronic payments.
The advantages for the biller include:
- Automated Workflows and integration to A/P and A/R systems.
- Elimination of manual data entry
- Shortened billing and collection cycles
- Automated and rules based workflows
The advantages to the bill payer include:
- Online payment history
- Detailed review of bills and transactions
- Electronic payment processing (no paper, checks, envelopes and postage)
- Quicker bill review and problem resolution
Whatever the next generation electronic bill presentment & payment brings commerce, there is no question that bill payment processing will ever revert back to a paper based system.