The following is a guest post submitted by a contributor.
Enriching the customer experience is a key driver in sustainable business. That’s why every facet of your operation, particularly accounting, should prioritize it. Besides helping manage debits and credits, accounting is one of the ways you connect with customers. The way you manage finances and collect accounting data will also impact how you build customer bonds. This piece will look at how the right accounting features can help you improve the customer experience.
How can accounting improve the customer experience?
There are three primary ways accounting can boost the customer experience.
- Data insight – By being able to effectively aggregate and analyze the accounting data relating to your products, initiatives, and other key areas, you’ll have a clear insight into company performance. Specifically, you’ll be able to see areas that are creating a good customer experience and generating more engagement and sales. You can also examine areas that are not creating positive customer engagement. A strong accounting system will give you a full 360-degree view of how each area of your business is performing and meeting goals. Armed with this info, you can then apply improvements.
- Smooth billing and accounting cycles – No customer likes dealing with billing mistakes or confusion with payments. By making the billing and invoicing processes efficient and user-friendly, you will make it easier for them to keep doing business with you. Making these areas more streamlined, accurate, and transparent will mean you and your customers save time and money.
- Security and privacy – Web-based transactions and systems are vulnerable to attack. One of the worst customer experiences is having their identity and/or money stolen. You can avoid this with security-focused accounting practices and technology. Assuring your customers of their safety encourages more business and positive customer experience with each payment.
Accounting features that improve the customer experience
The proficiency or these accounting areas is heavily dependent on the tools you’re using. Here are some critical features you should look for.
System flexibility plays a critical, overarching role in these features. This must be the central quality of your accounting tool because this dictates how you will optimize the processes of your accounting to improve customer experience. Specifically, look for customization and configuration options that allow you to fully control the accounting processes as you desire.
Automated billing and other accounting functions improve both work efficiency and customer experience. For example, invoices can be scheduled and sent out on certain dates and cycles automatically. This eliminates work and allows for a simple accounting lifecycle for both parties.
Personalizing your service goes a long way in showing that you value your customer and it makes their lives easier. This is particularly true when it’s time to pay. Being able to dictate the layout, breakdown, and timing of invoices makes the experience of payment more streamlined in itself. This also eliminates confusion and errors. Customers can examine their unique information more clearly and proceed from there either with payment or in follow-ups.
Customer data tracking
Being able to safely accumulate and analyze relevant customer data will help you improve the products and services you provide. Tracking purchasing amounts, service data, time, costs, and other relevant notes will help you tailor your customer service and delivery to secure more sales. You’ll also see what’s working with your customer relationship, like products that they’re most interested in, or seeing how staff are engaging customers to enhance their experience. All this data and more should be accessible to your staff in order to make improvements. Again, this also makes the entire work process faster and easier to manage too. Example: information can be stored on the customer account record and automatically flow through to customer invoices without extra steps.
Easy customer emails
Smooth communication is valuable for the customer experience, especially with money involved. Being able to send a secure email within the accounting system keeps communication faster and more precise. Records of these emails should be logged and easily tracked to render efficient service and responses. Having access to unique email templates and pdf formats tailored for each customer will help with payment processing too.
A secure accounting system ensures a protected customer and a safe business relationship. A fully-secure accounting system is a must on the cloud; data threats are only amping up. Any kind of data theft or loss whether due to internal or external factors damages both your company and your customers. It’s your responsibility to safeguard their personal and financial data. By doing so, you also protect your company. You do this by utilizing an accounting system that is equipped with a strong security-focused infrastructure, including encryption capabilities, as well as internal control features. Internal control features allow you to assign restrictions within your accounting system to eliminate costly errors and control access to viral data. You’ll also want to make sure your accounting tool follows Payment Card Industry (PCI) security standards for safely storing payment information.
Strong accounting features = improved experience
You’ll see that these accounting features serve the dual purpose of benefiting customers and businesses directly. That’s because efficient, safe accounting impacts all stakeholders involved. Not only do you save time managing the financial process, but your customers also get to deal less with billing and finances and can just enjoy your business. Simultaneously, eliminating any confusion or errors around your financial interactions with customers bolsters your professionalism. You win on several levels while further protecting your finances and improving customer service.
About Accounting Seed
Accounting Seed is a modern, robust accounting platform powered by the Salesforce platform. We’re committed to breaking down silos and building connections in order to take your business to the next level. Find out more at accountingseed.com.
Originally published Jul 20, 2020, updated