Level up your AR team in 2021 with one smart move
The changes in our economy over the past 12 months have set new standards for how businesses need to operate, to stay competitive, to stay accessible and most of all, to stay profitable.
Businesses that relied on manual AR processes struggled the most, as office shutdowns prohibited AR teams from conducting their daily processes and a lack of cloud-based, automated tools restricted access to both data and AR processes to on-site only. Businesses that had partial automation, suffered less, but still suffered.
Since the onset of COVID-19:
- 44% of businesses have struggled with collections
- DSO has increased from 39 to 43 days
- Disputes have risen 20%
- Payment in full is down 13%
- Payment deferrals are up 22%
Your ability to respond to changing market conditions and events is more critical than ever.
If you are among the 54% of innovative business leaders who intend to invest intelligently in a more efficient and cost-effective way to manage their credit to cash process, then communications automation should be a critical component.
It takes 67% more time to follow up on payments in a manual process than an automated one. Let that sink in.
The AR process touches your customers with the most regularity throughout their lifecycle with your business.
AR communications done the old way take a lot of time. And let’s face it. Your AR staff is probably bored with these repetitive, low value tasks. They want more – and your customers deserve better.
Leveraging automated communications as your secret weapon is the smartest move you can make this year to increase efficiency, customer satisfaction, employee engagement and – most importantly – cashflow.
Here are some tips to get you started.
Conduct an AR communications audit
Ensuring a positive customer experience means being aware of your customer touchpoints in your credit-to-cash process. You must consider what happens during each customer touchpoint, and then define the most appropriate type of interaction. A few important things to consider as you look at each touchpoint are:
- A clear, unified voice
You want to have a clear voice for your business because this is the first step to establishing your customers’ trust: the voice tells them who you are and what you represent.
The other element that builds trust is consistency. Reliability and consistency, even over small things like invoice reminders, build a sense of trust with customers. Ensuring that each communication is delivered in the “voice” they have come to know and trust, increases their sense of connection and loyalty. And increased loyalty means increased revenue. The formula really is that simple.
- Mode of delivery
What is your current mode of communication? For example, if your AR team members are still manually sending out invoice reminders, that’s a very simple process to keep in the email channel, and you can deploy automation to save time and eliminate potential errors. Or, if you’re still managing the collections process with a series of phone calls, it might be time to consider alternate channels for contact and reserve the more time and labor-intensive phone calls for an escalation path.
- Know your customer
It’s important to know the recipients of your communications. Are they decision-makers? Gatekeepers? The message recipient determines both the content and the tone of the messages you’re sending. It ensures the right people are being provided the right information about what’s happening with their account and what next steps are required. Knowing this allows you to pre-plan your communications strategy for those more delicate situations, saving your team time wondering what to say and who should say it.
- Escalation paths
Identifying escalation paths early on also builds trust. It shows up front that you are concerned about ensuring the account is taken care of, the right parties are involved, and that no one’s precious time is wasted trying to figure out who has final approvals in order to get a decision made.
It doesn’t have to take a lot of time to map and define the experiences at each touchpoint. Your AR team already knows what the connection points are and who they are connecting with. It’s a matter of documenting the process so you can make smart decisions about how you’re going to communicate to your customers to ensure their complete satisfaction. A well-rounded communications strategy that provides transparency and accountability to the customer is the heart of a successful AR program. To ensure all customers receive a consistent message, a smart AR platform that automates communications (among other things) is your smartest, and most efficient investment.
For more tips on how to increase customer loyalty, revenue and employee engagement, check out our two new ebooks; “Customer Communications: Your Most Overlooked Superpower in AR”, and “Delivering a World-Class AR Experience”.
Or, contact us today to find out how you can level up your AR team with YayPay.