When we think of customer experience, our minds likely jump straight to helping a customer select just the right product or service, showing them how to get the most out of their investment, delivering orders on time, and packaging products in attractive ways. All of this is key to the customer experience. Still, there's another piece that we don't often think of, which can have a powerful impact on whether a customer becomes a one-time buyer or a lifelong evangelist.

That piece is the billing process.

It may not be glamorous, but that doesn't make it less critical. With unlimited information buyers can access online, countless providers can choose from for any product or service. As businesses want to attract and retain loyal customers, it is essential to know how to create a frictionless experience through every step of the process. From the moment a potential buyer shows interest in a company's offerings to the moment they swipe their credit card, the customer needs to understand their importance to continue doing business with you.

It may seem easy enough to spit out an invoice at the end of a transaction—after all, that’s the only part of the billing process that a customer sees up close. But in fact, billing is involved in every step of the customer journey (hence why we call it the “quote to cash process”):

  • Providing the initial quote
  • Ensuring the contract includes correct pricing and terms
  • Mediating usage throughout the month
  • Creating and sending an invoice
  • Accepting payment in any form the buyer chooses
  • Recognizing revenue

Of course, doing it all quickly, accurately, and on time. Savvy vendors understand this, and they know the importance of an agile billing system that is flexible and powerful enough to meet customer expectations and corporate objectives.

When all of these steps are done well — usually with the help of a sophisticated, agile billing platform — the customer experience is improved dramatically. However, when any of them are botched, leaving the customer with false charges or difficulty rendering payment, that's a whole different story.

Here are five ways in which excellent billing enhances the customer experience.

Agile, Value-Driven Pricing

Attaching pricing to offerings may be the most apparent billing function, but this primary function can become a powerful asset with the right system in place. Agile pricing 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 evolve with their needs.

Understanding this is a powerful way for businesses to attract and retain customers who, like so many of us, are laser-focused on value to pay for only what they need and use everything they pay for. However, agile pricing is often out of reach for businesses relying on legacy ERP and accounting systems. With these older systems, it’s often difficult to modify, add, or bundle products and services without leading to SKU proliferation and logistical nightmares. As a result, changes often require subject matter experts and can take significant time to implement. And the customers? They're likely to spend that time finding a new brand to support.

Crystal-Clear Transparency

Today’s B2B and B2C consumers are accustomed to having limitless information at their fingertips. They expect the same from their experience with any brand they purchase from, including easy-to-follow pricing options and clear, consistent follow-up notifications regarding their purchase or order. But beyond that, they want to be able to check their financial status at a moment’s notice:

  • How much of their monthly allotment have they used?
  • Did their last payment go through?
  • Will the sales team's 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. But again, this requires a system that enables both the back office and the customer to access real-time data and insights at a moment’s notice.

Integrations with Other Systems

Part of ensuring every step of the quote-to-cash process goes smoothly is recognizing that billing is connected to just about every other department. From sales to fulfillment to legal, when these teams operate in silos, communication gaps are likely to lead to overlapping work, dropped tasks, and errors that trickle down to the customer.

To ensure this doesn't happen, the billing system must be able to integrate seamlessly with every other system underpinning the business, including the CRM, CQP, and ERP, just for starters. Suppose these systems don't speak the same language. In that case, the result is mismanaged orders, incorrect invoices, and difficulty collecting payments — and it’s only a matter of time before your customers start to notice.

Read more about the importance of integrations to connect the front and back office in this blog post.

Accuracy at Every Step

Humans make mistakes, no matter how skilled they are. And, when it comes to manual billing processes, those mistakes will only increase as a company grows. They snarl back-office operations, but they also impact the customer experience, showing up in tracking issues, invoice errors, and payment snafus. These lead to revenue leakage, frustrated buyers, and increased customer churn.

However, automating the billing processes removes human error from the equation, replacing it with configurable rules and procedures that ensure accurate and timely invoices. Customers expect this accuracy level, and anything less will hurt your relationships.

Incentives to Come Back

Finally, sophisticated billing systems empower businesses to be proactive in increasing customer lifetime value. Through sophisticated customer behavior analysis, these systems can not only reduce churn but also identify new opportunities to pitch to existing customers:

  • Add-ons based on products and services that are often purchased in tandem
  • Sales of relevant follow-on products and services
  • Subscription models for basic goods and services
  • Usage-based add-ons to enhance the customer experience and offer additional value

These offerings and others make it easy for customers to continue buying from their preferred businesses, boosting the experience and growing revenue.

In today's buyer-centric B2B and B2C business landscape, a billing system that’s missing these capabilities is liable to detract from the customer experience, jeopardizing not only initial sales but invaluable follow-on opportunities. The Gotransverse platform is built to ensure a frictionless customer experience from beginning to end. Suppose your organization is looking to adopt an agile billing platform that will help enhance both the customer journey and the bottom line. In that case, 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.