June 30 by Miguel Tam
I depend on Yelp. When it’s time for me to find a new restaurant (and out here in San Francisco, we have tons), a solid 4-star or higher review is a great sign. But I always find it interesting to see that even with hundreds of positive reviews, great restaurants often have a smattering of 1-star reviews. And it’s usually poor service that leads to the negative scrutiny – an unpleasant hostess, slow responsiveness from the wait staff, inaccurate charges, etc. What’s clear is that a poor diner experience can undercut amazing food coming from the kitchen.
The same can be said for any business – a poor customer experience can turn a “Loyal Lisa” into a “Negative Nancy.” Before you dismiss your poor reviews, it’s important to understand the full effect of customer experience. Jill Rowley, founder of #SocialSelling, dispensed several critical statistics during her expert panel “Selling to the Modern Buyer” at Accelerate 2014:
The relationship of trust between companies and consumers has changed.
- Only 10% of buyers trust ads
- Only 33% of buyers trust a certain company or brand
So who do they trust? Other buyers
- 92% of consumers trust other buyers’ opinions
- 82% of all consumers research brands online before anywhere else
- Buyers complete 70% of their purchase before coming into contact with a sales rep
To gain, maintain, and retain, a loyal customer base, companies need to focus more energy on becoming a customer-centric company, where the entire customer experience and lifecycle is as amazing as possible. However, one of the most overlooked aspects of the customer experience is invoicing, which has typically been relegated to the back-office machinations of ERP systems. This is ill-advised since invoices are often the last touch point customers have with your business.
Wouldn’t it make sense to have invoice information managed with all the rest of your customer information? That way as customers update their orders or change terms and conditions in their contract, the invoice will have all the latest and most accurate information. And if it’s written in language that speaks “customer” instead of “general ledger codes,” even better!
For companies who want to provide a 5-star experience, it’s clear that invoices should be managed in the front office, with all the rest of your customer information like orders and contracts.
- For customers, you can get a consolidated monthly invoice, instead of an invoice for each product you order. Or an invoice that has products, services and subscriptions all listed together, in easy to understand, customer-friendly language. Or an invoice that can easily handle staggered activations for user licenses.
- For the business, only a customer-centric billing process can help you at the point of sale figure out which customers are prompt payers, how much more revenue you can expect to receive over the lifetime of a customer, and how your cash flow will trend over time.
So if you’re a 5-star business, don’t let bad invoices give you 1-star reviews. You and your customers deserve a 5-star billing solution for all your products, services and subscriptions. To find out more about customer-centric billing, visit apttus.com/billing.