It has been said time and time again: The cost of acquiring a new customer is substantially greater than retaining a current customer. In fact, research shows that it can cost 3 to 30 times as much to acquire net new business. So, what do you need to do to keep those customers? It’s no longer good enough to simply have a good product. You need to have that good product, offered at a cheaper price than competition, and differentiated by the extraordinary customer service that comes with doing business with your company.
What are some things you can do to provide that extraordinary customer service? It is not uncommon for sophisticated companies to segment their customers. Utilizing a segmentation technique allows companies to deliver enhanced differentiation. According to Gartner: “Supply chain executives want to deliver the best experiences to customers and suppliers … from that point, customer segments can be created and differentiated services offered, such as ensuring excellence of on-time delivery for all products to key customers.” Read more
It’s a small world after all. And in today’s economy, it’s becoming even smaller. Businesses are expected to move faster than ever before, be available 24/7 and deliver instant gratification. These might sound like fairly generic statements, but every business process from sales, purchasing, invoicing, and supply chain is feeling the pressure to meet those expectations.
The need is clear — businesses are looking for ways to speed up their processes while always making things more efficient. This includes speeding up the review and approval workflows of invoice and requisition processing, as well as improved efficiency in the purchase-to-pay cycle. The payment experts at PYMNTS.com recognized this need stating “The mobile device is now a mainstay for many professionals, but for higher-level executives, the smartphone can often be a lifeline.” Read more
It’s the most wonderful…stressful…busy… time of the year! Particularly when you work in an organization that relies on the efficient and timely processing of customer orders. And as with many things, the key to keeping your customers satisfied and happy throughout this season starts with keeping the employees that are processing these orders feeling satisfied in their work.
Recently, Esker’s Customer Support Benchmark Council (CSBC) met in Chicago. The council meets a few times per year, focusing on topics to improve customer service operations, employee satisfaction and customer experience. Attendees also discuss how their companies are utilizing their Esker Order Processing Automation solution — sharing tips and tricks on how to optimize their solution performance.
In addition to networking with each other, Esker also provides an update on all of the solution enhancements that are available for their order processing automation solution.
Acquisitions and growth have guided Tessenderlo Kerley Inc. (TKI) into becoming a leading manufacturer of specialty chemical solutions, including fertilizers, crop protection and process chemicals to diverse markets in North and South America as well as Europe.
Due to its ever expanding business ventures, TKI found themselves in a predicament… ongoing acquisitions were causing an increased demand on accounting and customer service staff time. There were more orders coming in that needed to be processed into their SAP system (great news!) and more customers to invoice (even better!). Unfortunately, these additional transactions caused an influx of labor-intensive, paper-heavy work in accounts receivable (AR).
You see, TKI customers were used to dealing with paper — lots of paper. Even if these customers didn’t want to embrace new technologies, that didn’t mean TKI couldn’t. Its ultimate goal was to find a way to move order-to-cash (O2C) processes from paper-based to electronic.
Is EDI the end-all be-all of order processing? It doesn’t have to be. While it might seem that an investment in EDI will streamline processing orders into your ERP system, the truth is, just like everything else in the workplace, there are always exceptions! And dealing with these EDI exceptions can be quite costly, inefficient, and limit productivity.
The Pain of Dealing with EDI Errors
You see, EDI errors are a big deal.
And unfortunately, it requires an expensive IT resource to fix these errors. However, IT staff aren’t extremely knowledgeable on the business products and often end up reaching out to the customer service staff who understand the nature of the products better. So in reality — you are now paying for two people to fix one exception. Seems like a pretty inefficient process, huh?
Not to mention, one of those two people is an expensive and busy IT professional. And when we say busy, we mean it. With more organizations driving business through IT optimization, these resources need to be free to work on more strategic projects. One particular company recently lost 60% of their IT staff, and has started moving towards a cloud-based model for all aspects of their IT business. The resources left over are strapped for time and need to be able to focus on top-priority projects. Manually fixing EDI exceptions is not one of those projects!
Aside from the drain on resources, how else do EDI errors effect the business? Bottom line is: those errors sit waiting for resolution, impacting accurate revenue projections and planning. If orders are stuck waiting to be handled because of EDI exceptions, it makes it impossible to truly forecast revenue, staffing and workload needed to process them. There is no visibility into how many orders are stuck, or what those orders contain, making it pretty tough to plan.