The phenomenal growth in online shopping over the last year has forever changed the way we source both products and services. We expect at least to start searches online and source from a wider range of options simply because of the way search works and the ease with which we can compare products.
I have said it before: if you sell online, invoice online. Deliver invoices via portals instead of using the digital postal service to courier your PDFs. Customers receive notifications by email or SMS and simply click to collect invoices from a secure portal using a time expiring safe link to the site. Like online banking, having invoices and statements in a safe place that we can access as needed is the expectation. We no longer plan our days around visiting bank branches to obtain copies of statements or to transfer money. That is why calling an AR manager for a copy of an invoice feels somewhat last century. Moreover, tiresome. What a lot of effort?
I like to call portal based electronic invoicing ‘receive and retrieve’ for short because customers receive a notification of an invoice and follow the link to retrieve it. Selling the idea to her CEO, however, one client called it Click and Collect, and the whole understanding of the relative convenience for customers sank in. She got to implement eInvoicing and saved her team from deep stress, and helped the customer service and sales teams. “We talk about designing everything around the customer but forget that the order to cash process is part of that customer experience.
A must-have, not a nice to have
My client, being in the retail world, selling to retailers, used EDI when invoicing large supermarkets. These giants of commerce have long insisted that invoices are presented electronically. The set-up for only two customers was high. Changes cost a fortune due to their dependence on IT consultants. But it worked. Usually.
The problem with EDI is that its purpose is to facilitate sending and receiving, not all the interaction that goes in around the sides. As soon as there is an overdue invoice or a query about an invoice, it’s back to telephone tag and emails. With portals, even if you send invoices via EDI, your customer can interact online via portals. Thus, you capture a record of that interaction and use the workflow tools to promptly respond, follow up conscientiously, and iron out any issues.
Even if you sell to the Tescos of this world or are in an industry like oil and gas where EDI is standard, portals provide the perfect mechanism for the tricky part of Accounts Receivable.
Check out our EBilling module– query workflow helps you close off issues quickly. And the Disputes module- for any escalated query. Similar workflow tools help ensure you handle issues within the required regulatory timeframes and to your company’s customer service standards.