Magazine article Business Credit

Driving Electronic Billing Adoption. (Selected Topic)

Magazine article Business Credit

Driving Electronic Billing Adoption. (Selected Topic)

Article excerpt

It wasn't very long ago that the ATM machine was something only the brave, techno-savvy consumer dared to try. Many of us remember the first time we took the frivolous risk of allowing the machine to grab our card as we silently hoped it would deliver a crisp 20 or two. It took much longer for most of us to place our hard-earned paycheck into the cold, inhospitable machine. Yet, most consumers now use the ATM machine with the same assurance as the telephone.

In many ways, the current electronic billing solution is in those same early days of adoption jitters. While benefits to both biller and payer are significant, resistance from customers and your own employees may be great enough to curtail adoption. Customers naturally fear disruption, but your own employees may have their own concerns about upsetting the status quo. (If it's working, why fix it? And why risk upsetting your largest, most valuable customers?) Understanding the concerns and taking steps to address them during the implementation process is critical to smoothing the acceptance path for all.

Educating employees on the benefits of a well implemented electronic billing solution and the process for successful deployment should be a precursor to beginning implementation. When people see the larger picture and feel they are included in bringing the vision into focus, it's easier for them to become excited participants.

What Are the Benefits?

Biller benefits include:

* Significant cost savings through reduced paper and postage

* Streamlined internal processes

* Reduced credit department and customer service costs

* Specific targeting of marketing related messaging

* Competitive advantage in the marketplace

The amount of time and money saved through electronic billing can be staggering.

Reasons for Biller Resistance

Keeping that end goal in mind is important as you begin implementing your solution. It's also important to acknowledge that the concerns of your employees are valid.

Despite the best intentions, we've all seen new business processes disrupt business and threaten customer relationships. With a subject like billing, already a delicate issue, the potential for problems is heightened.

There are a variety of concerns about electronic billing that are often raised by billers. Primarily, they stem from concerns about customers responses to new business processes, a need for cross-functional teams and a lack of information about electronic billing or a lack of communication about the specific billing initiative being contemplated.

You have the desire to save time, effort and lots of money. You have the desire to deliver your bills electronically. Now all you need is the cooperation of your staff and your customers. This Article provides some strategies to a successful implementation.

Sales

Your sales force, especially those who deal with the largest customers, have a very real fear that the move to electronic billing will upset their customers. At best, they see the change as a disruption that creates work and expenses for their customers. At worst, they fear customers will become upset and leave.

By including your sales staff in the implementation process, you can keep them informed and enthusiastic about the benefits their customers will soon receive.

Customers stand to benefit significantly from the move to electronic invoicing since it will help them eliminate the costs to pay a paper bill, which may include photocopying, routing costs and physical archiving. …

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