Customer disputes and the resultant charge-backs and unauthorized deductions are a major problem for certain industries such as distributors and manufacturers selling to retailers and construction contractors. Disputes can be very time consuming, costly to resolve and cause delays in payments or unauthorized deductions.
Frequently, the first time you learn of a dispute is when your customer notifies you of a charge-back and takes an unauthorized deduction from a payment, or worse yet puts a payment on hold until the dispute is resolved. By this time it could be 30-90 days or more after the sale depending on your payment terms.
To get a dispute resolved, you then have to notify the stakeholders in your organization – sales, distribution, manufacturing, etc. that there is a dispute and request their immediate assistance to get the dispute resolved. Unfortunately, the stakeholders in your company are frequently busy dealing with current business issues, so resolution of disputes often takes a back seat to other priorities.
The net result of disputes is that you and the other stakeholders in your company spend a lot of time going back and forth until a final decision is made which resolves the dispute. During this time your cash flow is less than anticipated and collection KPIs fall short of targets.
Some customers can be a chronic problem when it comes to disputes. These problem accounts may use disputes to get sales concessions or delay payment to benefit their cash flow. However, for the bulk of your customers who do not use disputes as a tool to leverage concessions, you can increase efficiency in collections with self-serve dispute management through your customer payment portal.
Providing a customer payment portal for your customers to manage their accounts is a win-win situation for you and your customers. It gives you and your customers the benefit of automation of these processes:
- Disputes and Credits – With access to your portal, customers can initiate a dispute and request a credit.
- Customer Accounts – Customers can access information on their accounts and make copies of invoices and statements.
- Payments – Providing online payment options such as credit and debit cards, ACH, EFT and fintech alternatives like PayPal helps to accelerate cash flow.
- Promises to Pay – Customers can easily provide information on when invoices will be paid.
With a self-service customer payment portal customers can manage disputes by:
- Notifying you of a dispute
- Selecting a reason for the dispute
You, in turn, can use the information provided by the customer to notify other stakeholders of the dispute.
Providing a customer payment portal so your customers can use self-service to manage disputes is the best way to accelerate dispute resolution, save time and costs and increase cash flow.
The key to the successful installation of a customer payment portal with self-serve dispute management capability is to work with an experienced software partner.
Lockstep Collect is a market leader in cloud-based credit and collection platforms. Lockstep Collect can help you install and integrate a self-service customer payment portal with dispute management features.
If you would like to learn more about how you can benefit from a customer payment portal and self-serve dispute management, please contact Lockstep Collect at www.lockstep.io.