Let’s face it, no one looks forward to receiving bills, but your customers do expect them. These essential communications provide your business with a captive audience – and many businesses aren’t taking full advantage of the value these documents provide. Taking into consideration what your customers want in regards to bills and other transactional communications could result not only happier customers but also increased business.
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.
Electronic Invoice Presentment and Payment (EIPP) is a process that improves B2B invoicing, payments, and collections capabilities - from enhanced print and mail functionality to a comprehensive print, electronic and web portal suite of capabilities. An EIPP solution/strategy provides a bi‐directional bridge between a supplier’s Accounts Receivable Systems and their customers’ Account Payable Processes – giving both the information and data necessary to accurately process and manage all the elements involved in revenue and expense reconciliation.
There are very few independent research studies on Enterprise-level Electronic Invoice Presentment and Payment (EIPP) that focus on North America. For that reason, CEDAR has sponsored an independent research study to uncover best practices for improved customer experience and communication throughout the invoice lifecycle. After the completion of the study and extensive analysis of the results, it was clear that there is significant room for improvement in the way enterprises communicate with their customers.
While there are many reasons to consider an e-invoicing solution, we see four main reasons why an EIPP (Electronic Invoice Presentment and Payment) solution should be one of your top priorities in 2013. The immediate and long term benefits that come from the implementation of an e-invoicing solution are proven and very hard to ignore.
A friend recently experienced a leaky toilet. Thank goodness instead of calling me, he called a plumbing company to address the issue, and it was resolved successfully within a few hours. Yet a couple weeks later, he received the bill and was flabbergasted. The total was twice as much as he had expected. After a little reflection, he realized why. Instead of sending one plumber, which in his opinion would have been sufficient based upon the issue, the company sent two. He hadn’t thought of it at the time, but each man was being billed by the hour independent of the other. What took a few hours in real time took several in billing time.
It is no surprise that technology has transformed the invoicing and billing transaction process between you and your customers over the past decade. Many large corporations have acquired smaller businesses over the years and as a result a system is put in place to communicate between the newly acquired company, the parent company, and the customers. These systems are at times rushed and the complexity of the system limits the customers’ ability to perform any type of self service.
True story: I bought a new home in March. When I received my first natural gas bill in the mail, the bill summary on the front page of the printed statement showed an amount due of $160. That seemed pretty high but I assumed it must have included a connection charge or something. However, when I looked at the charges summarized in the bill summary block on that first page, they clearly didn’t add up to the $160.00 shown in the “Total Due” line item. In fact, I added them and they totaled $100.00. That was confusing. I turned the bill over and there was the $60.00 service charge under “Additional Charges” on the second page.