When it comes to billing, surprises are usually a bad thing. When your customer expects to see one thing on their bill or invoice and they get something else, you can expect a call or even to lose their business. From inaccurate invoices to errors and inconsistencies, there are many ways to rankle a customer when it comes time to pay. To avoid billing disputes and create an exemplary customer experience, here are five actions that you can take.
Make invoices clear
It’s just as important that invoices are easy to understand as it is for them to be accurate. If your customers do not understand what they are paying for, they’ll be frustrated and call you with questions. Make sure that all charges are clearly itemized and named appropriately—don’t use internal designations that might not make sense to the customer. And don’t forget to make sure your invoices are clearly branded so customers know where it came from!
Provide comprehensive self-service
Most people do not like calling customer service to make changes to their accounts or verify information. Your self-service application should offer your customers everything they want from usage history and past payment information to upgrade options and relevant promotions. When account changes, upgrades, downgrades, and even cancellation are a point-and-click affair, it provides your customers with transparency and increases their trust in your company. Not to mention that they are much more likely to upgrade services or make additional purchases if it’s a seamless experience. And again, the app or website should clearly reflect your brand.
Do more with dunning
Dunning is often only associated with collecting debt, so it’s frequently seen as an unpleasant last-resort process. But it isn’t just about debt collection. Dunning is also about managing service availability for past-due accounts and closing the door on potential revenue leakage. Better yet, you can make it an opportunity to create a positive customer experience. Leverage dunning communications to better engage with your customers—remind them of an overlooked payment, offer them support, suggest new payment options, or inform them of new products. They’ll be much happier to get friendly reminder than an unexpected service cancellation.
Eliminate manual processing
Manual intervention in the billing process is the best way to introduce errors and slow down processing times. Whenever possible, leverage your billing platform to automate invoices, billing, dunning, communications, and provisioning. If you have more than a handful of customer and you are still using a spreadsheet-based solution or simplistic billing platform that does not allow you to automate all these processes, it might be time to look at a new billing and monetization platform. Implementing a new billing system is a big change, but the ROI is quickly realized in cost savings, better resource allocation, and increased customer retention.
Engage your customers
One of the best ways to avoid billing disputes is to stay in touch with your customers. How you manage the “revenue moments” that occur over the course of a customer relationship can make the difference between them being delighted or disappointed. If a customer frequently reaches or exceeds their usage thresholds, offer them an upgrade. Have they reached an anniversary or another milestone? Take the opportunity to thank them for being a customer or send a promotion. Whatever the moment might be, you can use your billing system to automate the interactions maximize customer lifetime value while minimizing disputes.