Monthly Archives: October 2015
Customizing the display of electronic invoices with a professional layout and informational content helps customers to feel more comfortable when viewing and paying bills online. In addition, it provides strategic opportunities for businesses to engage by including targeted promotional content to specific customers segments, and express branding in a manner that breeds comforts and builds loyalty from new users.
When paper invoices are generated they generally include a professional header, client information, payment details, services or products sold, and other details such as the date, invoice number, and additional information relevant to the invoice or company. These invoices are printed and mailed with high quality graphics and form a tangible deliverable that is received by customers, hence, contributing to the customer experience and overall satisfaction score.
Paper invoices often also include promotional content designed to help businesses achieve a desired behavior or business goal. For example, during the holidays, businesses may run discounts or participate in local charity drives and add one or two lines to invoices to communicate involvement with customers. These campaigns add value and help correspond marketing objectives from a ground level, at little to no extra cost.
Traditional billing statements provide openings to convey branding using company logos, style guides, taglines, value props, website addresses and contact information. This is an important element since invoices are generally reviewed by various decision making members of an organization, and over time, become a part of the experience when doing business with vendors and contractors. Hence, a document meant to request payment can actually serve as a strategic tool for entities – if they choose to make the most of it.
The drawbacks of paper invoices, and the reasons many are migrating to electronic bill presentment, surrounds cost, environmental impact, and operational efficiency. There generally is no longer a debate that electronic invoices can be produced, distributed and received at lower cost, with less detrimental effects to our planet, and greater functional benefits for organizations.
The key, however, is to maintain the same level of engagement and comfort by customizing electronic invoices to identically match paper statements, without growing days sales outstanding (DSO). Templates should be created so electronic invoices can be automatically applied to specific situations and customer segments. Graphical elements should be choreographed using professional layouts and familiar looks and feels. With the right technology and execution, a customized electronic invoice can effectively replace a paper invoice, and yield a list of benefits for both businesses and customers.