With countless providers to choose from for any given product or service — and with the unlimited information buyers can access online — businesses that want to attract and retain loyal customers know just how important it is to create a frictionless experience through every step of the process.

When businesses talk about the customer experience, they often get hung up on specific elements such as packaging, pricing or positioning of products and services and let the rest fall by the wayside. But in reality, the customer experience is a process that begins the moment a potential buyer shows interest in a company’s offerings and keeps going as long as they are a customer.

One of the most overlooked elements of the customer experience is billing. It may seem easy enough to spit out an invoice at the end of a transaction, and that may be the only part the customer sees, but in fact, billing is a critical process that is a lot more involved than it seems, from mediating usage throughout the month to accepting payment smoothly in any form to recognizing the revenue — and doing it all quickly, accurately, and on time. Savvy vendors understand that, and they know the importance of an agile billing system that is flexible and powerful enough to meet both customer expectations and corporate objectives.

Here are five ways in which frictionless billing can make for a successful customer experience from quote to cash — if it’s done right.

1. Pricing Agility

This is perhaps the most obvious function of billing, but a sophisticated, customer-driven system does more than simply add pricing to offerings. It empowers vendors to go beyond a single, static price list and offer a variety of pricing and packaging options designed to meet customers’ expectations and to evolve with their needs.

For businesses relying on legacy ERP and accounting systems it’s often difficult to modify, add, or bundle products and services without leading to SKU proliferation and a logistical circus. As a result, changes often require subject matter experts and can take significant time to implement — customers are likely to spend that time finding a new brand to support.

2. Transparency

Today’s consumers and corporate buyers are accustomed to having limitless information at their fingertips, and they expect the same from the customer experience. Customers require easy-to-follow, pricing options and clear, consistent follow-up notifications regarding the status and setup of their purchase or order. But beyond that, they want to be able to check their status at a moment’s notice — how much of their allotment have they used this month? Did their last payment go through? Will that discount be applied to the next invoice? Total transparency into the billing process gives customers the insights they want — and helps the accounting team ensure everything is running smoothly at every stage.

3. Integrations

An intelligent billing system must communicate with other systems as effectively as it does with the customer, integrating seamlessly with sales, fulfillment, support, and other financial systems.

We talked about this in a recent blog post - “If your combination of disparate systems doesn’t integrate seamlessly with one another, you’ll be wasting a bunch of time and effort, reducing the value you get from each product. Soon enough, your team will be spending more time juggling platforms than doing their jobs.”

And all that wasted time will trickle down to the customers. When systems don’t play well together — when they require significant manual intervention to process data and pass information from process to the next — that results in delays and inaccuracies in order fulfillment, invoicing, and more, adding additional unwanted friction to the customer experience.

4. Accuracy

Humans make mistakes. As more and more manual processes are put in place to accommodate gaps in a billing system, more mistakes will be made. And those mistakes aren’t just visible to the finance team– they are shown to the customer on their invoice. Then either they find the error and report it to you or you find the error and have to follow back up with the customer. Either way, the account will have to be updated, debited, and monthly numbers rereported. Or no one finds it and there is a possibility for revenue leakage or overcharging customers for products and services they are using.

Automating the biling processes removes human error from the equation, relying on set rules and processes to ensure accurate and timely invoices. Customer expect this and anything less will hurt your relationship and likely ultimately end in a churned customer for your business.

5. Identification of New Opportunities

More than simply adept at handling purchases, intelligent billing systems need to be proactive, analyzing customer behavior to reduce churn but also to identify new opportunities based on purchase and usage data. This could mean recommending add-ons based on products and services that are often purchased in tandem, soliciting relevant follow-on sales or automating renewals for subscription models. Or it could mean implementing any of a variety of usage-based pricing models to increase recurring revenue opportunities and offer customers additional value. These models come in many different forms, and businesses may use one or more to fit their needs and their customers’.

In today's complicated and evolving business landscape, where the power has shifted from the supplier to the buyer, a billing system that doesn’t include the above capabilities is liable to detract from the customer experience, jeopardizing not only initial sales but invaluable follow-on opportunities as well.

The Gotransverse platform is built to ensure a frictionless customer experience from beginning to end. If your organization is looking to adopt an agile billing platform that will help enhance both the customer journey and the bottom line, we invite you to take a virtual tour of the Gotransverse platform today. Then, when you’re ready, request a demo to speak directly with one of our experts.