Accounts receivable (AR) teams, today, are bombarded with emails all day, every day. On average, AR inboxes receive over 100 emails each day. And a good number of these are requests from customers to resend invoices or other key accounting documents. These requests are often “lower priority” than other emails, often falling to the end of the day, week, or longer before a response is sent. Lack of response, means customers have less incentive to pay. But there is an easier way. By leveraging self service tools, accounting teams not only accelerate payments, improving cash flow and workflow efficiencies, but self service vastly improves your customer experience. And, in today’s environment, customer experience is essential to compete and thrive.
What is Customer Self Service?
Customer self service is a tool that allows customers to access their account information directly. This eliminates the need of having to go through an intermediary. This can be done through a variety of channels, including online portals, mobile apps, and customer service lines.
For accounting teams, this can take a variety of forms, but most commonly includes customer portals and online customer self service tools. These tools provide a way for customers to access their account information without having to go through an intermediary. These provide a way for customers to manage their account, access key documents and payment history, securely, without having to contact customer service.
Benefits of Customer Self Service.
There are several key accounting benefits of self service on the customer experience, but some the most important ones include:
- Improved customer satisfaction: Customers are able to access their account information on their own, without having to go through customer service or reaching out to the accounting team. This can lead to improved customer satisfaction as they don’t have to wait for a response, delaying action on their end.
- Increased customer retention: By providing a self service option, you make it easier for customers to do business with you. This can lead to increased customer retention as they are more likely to stay with a company that makes it easy to do business.
- Reduced costs: By providing self service options, you can reduce the number of calls and requests, and in turn, spend less time managing the needs of a single customer, creating efficiencies, so your team is able to spend time on other accounting initiatives.
How to Use Customer Self Service in Accounting.
There are a few key steps you can take to ensure a seamless customer experience when using customer self service for accounting purposes:
- Define customer self service needs: The first step is to understand what customer self service needs are. What tasks do customers need to be able to perform? What type of information do they need access to? This will help teams determine what type of customer self service tools to implement.
- Implement customer self service tools: Once customer self service needs have been defined, it’s time to implement customer self service tools. Accomplish this by integrating self service tools into existing accounting software (best practice). Alternatively, you can use standalone customer self service platforms. WARNING: These may not have accounting teams in mind with functionality.
- Test customer self service tools: Once self service tools have been implemented, it’s important to test them to ensure they’re working properly. This includes testing customer facing features as well as back-end integrations.
- Train employees on self service tools: After customer self service tools have been tested and are up and running, it’s important to train employees on how to use them. This will help ensure a seamless customer experience.
- Monitor customer self service usage: Finally, it’s important to monitor customer self service usage. This includes tracking customer satisfaction levels as well as usage statistics. This data can help teams identify areas for improvement.
Take the First Step Forward.
To ensure your customers can fully leverage these tools, ensure that your customer data is up to date. This includes updating account information, contact information, and payment methods. By taking the time to implement self service tools properly, accounting teams can reap the many benefits of customer self service such as customer satisfaction, customer retention, and cost savings. By following these steps, you can ensure a seamless customer experience for your accounting team.