No I’m not kidding. You can and should use accounts receivable as an extension of your customer service. Any part of your business that has customer contact should be viewed as part of your customer service team. Don’t view accounts receivable in a vacuum; as information that should be not be shared because it may indicate a customer is having problems. On the contrary, accounts receivable should be viewed as another tool and information source in servicing your customer. Here are some ideas on how you can use accounts receivable as an extension of your customer service.
POINTS OF CONTACT
Accounts receivable is a regular point of contact with your customer. Any point of contact should be viewed as an opportunity to enhance a customer relationship. Even a collection call can help to cement a relationship with a customer when the collector is friendly, courteous and business-like.
Online notes should be kept of any accounts receivable contact with a customer so that sales and customer service personnel can keep up to date on the relationship. It can be surprising how much you can learn from a routine call to a customer.
Make sure that everyone who contacts customers has access to accounts receivable Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). Changes in KPI trends can be an early indicator of positive or negative developments with a customer or business overall. The more your points of customer contact know about your customers; the easier it will be to effectively manage relationships.
CUSTOMERS ARE UNIQUE
A customer should be treated as a unique entity; even when it is in the same industry as your other customers. Don’t lump them all in the same category to determine the appropriate accounts receivable policies and procedures to use.
Routinely calling a customer when an invoice is 10 days past due (because that is your procedure), when you know the customer always pays 15 days past due, is a waste of time and a potential irritant to the customer relationship. Customizing reminders to contact customers is easy and efficient with an automated accounts receivable system.
The more you treat customers as unique; the easier it will become to anticipate changes in the relationship.
CUSTOMERS AS PARTNERS
The more a customer is embedded in its relationship with your company, the more it will act as a partner and take ownership of its transactions. One way to allow your customer more participation in its transactions is to offer a self-service payment portal.
You can add a hyper-link to your invoice template connected to a secure payment portal. The portal can be programmed to accept payments by credit card, Automated Clearing House (ACH) and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).
The customer can choose a payment option and process the payment on a self-serve basis, allowing you to spend more time on collection priorities.
These ideas can help to make accounts receivable an extension of your customer service. The information available from an automated accounts receivable system and the ability to share it among the points of contact with your customers can help to make this a reality.
Automated accounts receivable, credit and collection software is available from Lockstep Collect, the leader in cloud-based software solutions made specifically for businesses selling on credit terms.
If you would like to learn how you can automate your accounts receivable, credit and collection system, please contact Lockstep Collect at www.lockstep.io.