Having many different types of customers, all with individual payment preferences, can cause headaches and delay cash flow—something that’s unsettling for organizations in any environment, but particularly so today.
As B2B companies across industries are quickly realizing, however, paying more attention to customer experience (CX) can add a little more certainty to these uncertain times. In fact, injecting a dose of CX into your payments process can not only lead to increased sales, but also help you get paid faster and more efficiently.
So why is B2B CX so important, and why are organizations paying so much attention to it now? It’s called the “Amazon effect.”
The Amazon Effect
Think about your own consumer world. You place an order from a computerized kiosk at a restaurant, allowing you to confirm your order is accurate. You do most of your personal banking online, complete with the ability to take a photo and deposit a check with your smartphone. You use your smartphone to shop instead of visiting a crowded mall. All of it makes for a climate where instant gratification is served up in an easy-to-understand package.
This is the Amazon effect—a name derived from Amazon's continuous raising of the CX bar—and it’s changed everything about what we expect from those with whom we do business.
Why should health industry distributors take a page out of Amazon’s book. To put it simply, if your customers can enjoy Amazon-like ease-of-use, they’ll be more likely to report being satisfied with your company and perceive you as being easier to do business with. Implementing the Amazon effect is possible for any business, and a good place to start is at the very beginning—when you onboard a customer.
What keeps customers happy? A frictionless experience from start to finish. Applying the Amazon effect to your customer onboarding process leads to a smooth, seamless, and hassle-free credit application process. Inflexible PDFs, unseen credit applications, and slow validations aren’t world-class, don’t make new customers happy, and delay the ultimate outcome—placing orders. Unfortunately, numerous B2B distributors subject their customers to an experience that gets them started off on the wrong foot.
Without an elegant, online solution, it’s common for credit applications to stall during the approval process or get lost in the shuffle of competing priorities. That’s because analysts often lack the framework needed to review all pieces of a credit application in one place and make an informed decision. Critical information such as when the application was initiated, which references have responded, and the applicant’s score and profile are all considered when making a decision, and it often takes days or weeks to compile from multiple sources. This leads to a poor customer experience and, ultimately, lowers customer satisfaction.
By leveraging innovations like automation to improve the credit application process, a company can remove barriers from the very beginning of the customer relationship and set the stage for a remarkable customer journey.
As consumers, we’re accustomed to having easy access to our invoices and payment history, and it’s just as easy for us to return a product or dispute a transaction. Unfortunately, it’s not always so smooth on the B2B side, which means the order-to-cash cycle can have a negative impact on customer satisfaction.
Presenting a smooth, seamless experience, all the way from invoicing and payments to cash application and collections solutions, not only makes you look great but also drives efficiencies that lead to increased revenue and profitability. In light of growing forms of electronic payments, automating the order-to-cash process allows a firm to adopt the transformative benefits of digital payments, including faster transactions, improved remittance, and less manual work needed to process payments.
Interestingly, a recent Hackett Group study found that companies leveraging technology and automation to optimize process management spend up to 85 percent less managing the order-to-cash process. And aside from cost savings, by automating, you optimize both the transactional and relationship management aspects of the order-to-cash processes and deliver experiences that customers expect from the brands they do business with today.
The Amazon effect is real. Its impact on how all of us perceive every online transaction and customer touchpoint can’t be overstated. And it’s not going away—especially as the workforce becomes more digitally savvy and adapts to new technology. Replicating the experience your customers have when shopping online not only gives you a competitive edge, but it also gives your business the peace of mind that you are enhancing its overall financial health. In today’s climate, few things are more important.
Mitchell Rose is an SVP and GM for Midmarket where he heads up Billtrust’s go-to-market strategy for the midmarket segment. Prior to this role, Rose led Partner Solutions at Billtrust, where he was responsible for leveraging third parties to bring innovative solutions to the Billtrust customer base. He also led the Billtrust’s marketing team, growing revenue ten-fold. Before Billtrust, Rose held senior level marketing positions with Coke, Mattel, and Warner Lambert, and led marketing at start-up company PointRoll, where during his tenure, revenue grew eight-fold and culminated in a sale to Gannett Inc. Through the course of Rose’s professional career, he has created breakthrough marketing campaigns, successfully battled competitive threats, and led teams in the development of industry-leading new products. He holds an MBA from Columbia University in Marketing and a BS in Applied Economics from Cornell University.