Bluchain asks billing & credit management expert, Chris Sanders, how to turn your billing process into a revenue driver for you business.
I have managed transformation programmes in billing functions across the world.
For many of these businesses, billing was an isolated corner of the finance team, disconnected from the rest of the business. The little-considered tail of the business beast.
To make real change in billing, one key message that always pricks up the ears of a board and gets them to take an interest is the idea that billing processes can have a direct and positive effect on revenues and profitability.
- Good billing builds trust. With a billing experience that the customer understands and can engage with, they are more likely to pay, and they are more likely to stay. That means less time spent on disputes (or worse still, paying for people to provide support services to deal with issues where the customer simply doesn’t know what they’re paying for). Improving billing accuracy reduces your cost-to-serve in the billing function, but also keeps customers happy and engaged with your brand. That reduces your customer churn and, in turn, the efficiency of your marketing.
- A good billing experience also raises your NPS score. Recently, the NPS automation house, even put bad billing practice at the top of its list for NPS failure, saying: “Companies with a great Net Promoter Score tend to be transparent about their billing practices and make it clear when and how the customers will be billed. Companies that rank near the bottom are the opposite – opaque, and often deceptive about billing.” Those happy customers will pass on the good news to new customers too – directly raising your brand perception and market share. Bluechain is built on exactly this principle: that billing directly contributes to customer experience.
- Upsell. Happy customers will also buy more from you. When you’re the provider of choice, you have an opportunity to upsell or “land and expand” into adjacent customer needs. All with much reduced sales and marketing cost; and with the hidden benefit of freezing out the competition, too.
It’s hard to directly quantify the benefits of revolutionised billing because the positive effects invariably cut across all functions of the business. It is particularly worth working with the COO – someone with visibility of the whole operation - to appreciate the opportunity.
But I have no hesitation in saying that for most of the organisations I have worked with, billing transformation can achieve a 5% uptick in revenues – I have consistently seen this. This is particularly applicable in large corporates with inherent complexity, but even smaller firms can undoubtedly benefit.
Billing is not the end of the chain. When the billing function is considered for all it can achieve, the deliverables can be both remarkable and rapid.
Chris Sanders, FCICM has consulted on billing and credit management for businesses on four continents, including leading turnarounds and post M&A integrations of the function in multiple major enterprises across many industries. He developed and managed the Chartered Institute of Credit Management's Quality in Credit Management Programme for 12 years and serves on CICM’s Advisory Council.