When you think of collections, you might picture a pushy credit agency trying in vain to contact those who don’t pay their bills. Handling B2B collections this way is a difficult task because it often antagonizes customers who may have legitimate reasons for not paying their bills immediately.
Stop and consider your own business procedures are perhaps the reason why you don’t receive payments on time. Since customer communication is more important than ever now, you need to make your collections efforts part of a customer journey to maintain cash flow.
If you don’t know how to do this, it’s time to learn. Here at Esker, we recently wrote a piece about how to end your customer journey on a high note with an effective collections management strategy.
Let’s look at what you can gain with new perspectives on persuading your customers to pay earlier.
Providing the Ability to Pay Online
How convenient do you make it for your customers to do business with you and pay for your products or services? According to a recent Harvard Business Review study across industries, 81% of all customers attempt to take care of matters themselves, such as going online, instead of reaching out to a live representative. However, only 33% of businesses allow customers to pay online. Why there’s such a wide gap is a mystery.
In truth, businesses want as much convenience as possible in payment methods. They’re already busy enough and may forget to pay or misplace an invoice if they only receive it via postal mail.
Because many of these buyers are usually on the go, they also want to pay on mobile devices. Automation is meant to inspire customers to pay while still making the process personalized.
Using Automation for Connecting With Customers
You may not typically think of applying automation to accounts receivable after using manual methods for years. After manually sending emailed payment reminders, dunning letters in the postal mail or even faxed invoices, you may feel that automation is an overly impersonal method.
This just isn’t true. When you apply personalized messages to payment reminders, such as indicating advantages to the customer if they pay early, customers can be quite receptive. By sending automated message to customers you can stay on top of more post-sale collection interactions without losing the personal touch.
Self-service options for your customers are another strong point in automation. In addition to allowing customers to make payments, you provide the ability for customers to proactively engage with your collections team. Your customers can work with your collections team to send and ask questions, apply credits, view their account information and terms, view account statements, dispute invoices, or sign up for autopay.
Freedom to Customize Invoices
To make the collections process work on a new level, it’s going to require more than just providing the basics. You need to add customization options to your self-service process, including allowing the customer to customize their invoices. Doing so gives power back to the buyer to choose a format they prefer to help them better understand what they buy and what they pay.
Giving freedom to your business customers like this benefits them, though it also benefits you since you’re cutting costs of sending out paper mailings. Plus, you’re reinforcing your branding by customizing self-service interfaces.
More so, you’re streamlining the way you communicate with those who buy from you. Don’t forget about the analytics you’ll have available to help you understand what your buyers want. Now you can continually evolve the way buyers prefer paying their bills.
Contact us at Esker, Inc. to learn about our document process automation services. We invite you to read end your customer journey on a high note with an effective collections management strategy in detail to finally revise your collections system.