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A/R University

A/R Customer Self-Service Drives More than Customer Satisfaction

Today, many B2C companies are celebrated for their reliability, 24/7 availability, and especially for their exceptional customer service.

Companies such as Sephora, Amazon, and Target have risen to the top of their sectors by focusing on creating a remarkable customer buying experience.

As a result, these companies are viewed as some of the most customer-centric retailers in the business and are applauded for their level of customer service.

Great customer service is a building block for success and growth, though it can also be an expensive endeavor. As a result, customer service has evolved tremendously from simply having a person available to answer questions to self-serve, e-commerce websites and mobile apps that provide everything needed to make an informed purchase, in addition to account history and payment options. These self-serve interfaces have revolutionized the customer service paradigm by simplifying and enhancing the buying experience while lowering operating costs.

Interestingly, not only does this shift away from expensive, person-to-person interaction lower costs, it also leads to higher customer satisfaction. Indeed, a 2018 Aberdeen Group study found that companies with self-service options had happier customers and greater efficiencies. Of the 422 companies surveyed, those using self-service enjoyed an 8.4% increase in customer satisfaction rates compared to less than a 5% increase for non-self-service users.

If self-serve customer service is so successful for B2C, why not apply it to B2B payments?

Of course, many B2B vendors have online stores where customers can place orders and even pay for those orders at the same time. But many more vendors sell products and services on credit and later invoice customers for payment.
In too many instances, this invoicing and payment process is manual and paper-based, requiring significant effort on the part of both A/R and A/P. 

Regardless of the quality of the product delivered, it is this arduous payment process that can sour the buying experience and jeopardize the customer relationship.

Customers seek convenience and a vendor relationship that recognizes their constraints on time and resources. Self-serve interfaces meet these requirements easily and quite well.

But what does a self-serve, B2B payments interface look like?

Today, many vendors offer payment portals that require customers to visit unique URLs and log in with a username and password.
The functions of these portals vary from those with nothing but a list of open invoices and payment options to ones that are overstuffed with dashboards and data extraneous to making payments.
  • Ideally, a self-serve payments interface is intuitive and provides only the tools needed to review, approve, and pay invoices.
  • It also provides options for disputes, short pays, and delayed payments.
  • Arguably more important, with today’s technology, vendors can provide customers with secure links that allow them to pay invoices from any device and eliminate the need to log into a portal, thus making the concept of a portal obsolete.

How do automation and self-serve interfaces transform accounts receivable?

Companies that implement self-service options benefit not only from greater customer satisfaction but also cost savings and competitive advantage.

Billfire’s Valet Payments is the ideal accounts receivable automation solution.