Billing isn’t just about sending invoices on a monthly or annual basis. Of course, sending invoices and receiving payment is the lifeblood of your software-as-a-service (SaaS) company. It’s what keeps your company operating in the black. Automated billing services not only simplifies the payment process, but also provides additional benefits when used as a communication tool. As one of the most frequent communications you have with your customers, why not use it to enhance their experiences?
If you’re like most SaaS businesses, your invoices consist of 11 or 12 components:
- The word INVOICE
- Invoice number
- Name and address of the seller
- Name and address of the buyer
- Date of product(s) purchased / services rendered (recurring dates)
- Invoice date
- Line items detailing each product / service purchased (recurring purchases)
- Tax rate
- Total amount due (recurring charges)
- Payment terms
- Purchase order number (if provided by the buyer)
- Instructions on how to pay the invoice
As you look through the list, is there anything missing? What about something that engages the customer and helps build loyalty.
SaaS companies that have high customer satisfaction (CSAT) ratings keep their customers at the center of everything they do – including billing. A thirteenth invoice component – personalization – can help turn mediocre customers into brand advocates. What does this mean and how can SaaS companies that are already dealing with complex billing processes use this medium to improve customer relationships?
How Automated Billing Services Delivers Added Customer Value
Personalization can be as simple or detailed as you want or need. For example, if a customer purchased additional products, services, or functionality, a sincere thank you will show your appreciation. Perhaps you’re about to launch a new product that provides greater flexibility for customers who’ve purchased the basic offering. An invite to your upcoming webinar can not only ensure ‘standing room only’ but may result in additional sales. You may want to send personalized discounts and promotions to your high-value customers. Alternatively, reduce customers at risk of churn with short-term freemium offers.
The ways you can improve customer loyalty through invoices are virtually limitless. However, if your finance team is already struggling to get accurate invoices out the door in a timely manner, you may be thinking – we would love to include personalized content but don’t have the time or the resources. This is where automated billing services can help.
Let’s look at how automating billing services not only simplifies the payment process but opens the door to better customer engagement and profitability.
Remove Obstacles With Automated Billing Services
Billing not only impacts invoicing and rating but overall communication with your customers. Start by asking:
- Are your billing processes not as efficient as they need to be?
- Does your finance team rely on disparate systems or manual processes to report revenue and ensure compliance?
- Is revenue leakage draining your profitability?
- Are you seeing a spike in customer churn?
If you answered yes to even one of these questions, check out our What is an Automated Billing System blog for details on the top 5 challenges SaaS businesses face when billing isn’t automated and how you can turn these challenges into opportunities.
The Benefits of Automated Billing Services Are Many
What is automated billing services and what are its benefits? In a nutshell, automated billing services enable you to put routine processes on autopilot. These functions include rating, invoicing, taxation, payments, collections, dunning, revenue recognition, and customer interactions.
In addition to the above functions, with automated billing services you’ll benefit from:
- Automated Payment Reminders: While most customers make payments on schedule, there will always be those that you’ll have to chase, which is time-consuming. Keep customers informed of outstanding balances with automated notifications and collection tasks that trigger when predetermined thresholds are met.
- Automated Taxation: Integrate with external tax engines to ensure efficient assessment of sales tax, VAT, GST, etc. to comply with local, regional, and global tax regulations.
- Automated Offers: Whether discounts, coupons, promotions, or special offers, keeping track of what is offered to each of your customers or customer groups is time-consuming and error-prone. By automating this process, you’ll be sure that your customers receive the offers promised, which improves customer satisfaction and stickiness.
- Automated Credits and Refunds: Mitigate one of the most labor-intensive processes your finance team handles. Automation ensures transactions are accurately routed to customer balances and GL accounts, ensuring accurate reporting and improved customer satisfaction.
- Automated Intelligence: Whether analytics, reporting, or dashboards, your SaaS business relies on up-to-the-minute information to understand the financial health of the company. With easy-to-access and easy-to-use intelligence, you’ll always have the information needed to make more informed business decisions.
Billing is complex by nature, however, there are tools that can automate virtually all of your billing processes.
Billing: Simplify the Complex
Are you ready to simplify the complex by automating billing processes, but not sure where to begin? Every SaaS company has different processes, so you need a solution that adapts to your needs. Those you have today and into the future. To determine your billing requirements and get the platform that will simplify billing’s complexities, take a look at the 7 Questions to Clarify Your Requirements for Automated Billing article. This blog explores seven criteria that are often overlooked when shopping for an automated billing solution.
As affirmed in the Forbes article, Three Steps to Overcome Your Complex Billing Model, automation ensures that, while there may be a diverse set of sources and processes, these processes are executed in exactly the same way, every time, within milliseconds as opposed to days.
As your company grows, automated billing services enable you to reduce (or even eliminate) errors that could have a downstream effect on your profitability. Selecting the right automated billing platform, however, can be daunting. Be sure you know the 6 critical aspects you need to consider when purchasing an automated billing solution. Additionally, you need to take implementing the billing solution into consideration. Some implementations can be time-consuming and laborious – putting you at a distinct disadvantage. Others, on the other hand, can be deployed in as little as 8 weeks.
Improve Loyalty and Grow Your Recurring Revenue Business
Fundamental to the customer experience are the invoices you send. Don’t let antiquated manual billing processes or disparate systems keep you from exceeding their expectations. BillingPlatform provides a fully automated cloud-based solution that enables you to easily manage your front, middle, and back-office systems. With seamless integration to CRM, ERP, BPM, RPA, financial systems, etc., you’re able to keep customers at the center of your billing processes.
Delivering the experiences your customers expect is what keeps your company profitable. With BillingPlatform, you get a system that not only simplifies complex billing processes, but provides the ability to configure invoices by geography, subsidiary, customer, or industry; and design invoices to fit your customer’s profile or location. Are you ready to simplify the payment process, use invoices as a communication tool, and build the types of customer relationships that drive competitive advantage and profitability? Let us help!