Esker Expands Globally While Achieving Record Sales Growth

Leader in document process automation solutions sees an increase in demand for cloud-based solutions

Sydney, Australia — April 20, 2017 Esker, a worldwide leader in document process automation solutions and pioneer in cloud computing, recently announced that the company achieved record growth in 2016, fueled by an increased demand for cloud-based solutions, the changing regulatory environment in some countries and the company’s commitment to consistently delivering innovative, comprehensive solutions ahead of the curve. Esker’s strategic acquisitions and partnerships have augmented its customer base and facilitated expansion into new regions.

“We are experiencing dynamic, sustainable growth across the board, but especially in cloud-based solutions, where we saw a 20 percent increase last year,” said Steve Smith, U.S. chief operations officer at Esker.

“This represents 77 percent of total company sales revenue and validates the need for automation. Even better, we anticipate double-digit growth again in 2017 in every market where Esker is active,” said Christophe DuMonet, Managing Director of Esker Australia and New Zealand.

2016 Highlights

In order to accommodate such rapid growth while maintaining excellent customer service, Esker invested in additional staff. By late 2016, Esker outgrew its North American headquarters in Madison, relocating to new office space to accommodate new and anticipated future hires. Esker also opened its first U.S. satellite office in Denver to accommodate a growing number of customers in the Rocky Mountains and Pacific states, along with the western region of Canada, especially within the medical device, food production and semi-conductor industries.

Also, Esker expanded its international footprint, beginning with a partnership with Santiago, Chile-based Gosocket Corporation, a leading provider of solutions related to electronic document exchanges with digital signatures, to bring more value to Latin American customers of both companies. Customers in this region can now meet evolving electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) mandates that vary by country. Esker and Gosocket Corporation are working together to bring a more comprehensive set of offerings to the Latin American region beginning this year.

“Esker’s expansion into the Latin American region created an opportunity for both companies,” said Sergio Chaverri, chief marketing officer at Gosocket Corporation. “By partnering with Esker our customers will have access to leading business solutions and Esker’s international customers will have the ability to meet any changing regulations seamlessly.”

Esker also further developed its activities in the Oceania region with the signature of a partnership agreement with Fuji Xerox in New Zealand. “Automation of previously manual tasks and introducing mobile and analytics functionality for insights into the AP process delivers rapid and quantifiable benefits. With the combination of Fuji Xerox’s consulting team and Esker’s cloud Accounts Payable, we’re delivering tools that AP users need, but just haven’t been able to access,” says Cameron Mount, Fuji Xerox New Zealand GM Enterprise Consulting.

Lastly, Esker also put in place its third data center in Singapore, offering its Asia-based customers the best possible response times. This new infrastructure was built on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

Solution advancements

Esker is committed to regularly providing customers with new and improved offerings. One of the company’s most notable launches last year was Esker Anywhere, a mobile application that gives managers the ability to review, approve, and reject purchase requisitions and supplier invoices while out of the office. Esker also introduced solution integrations with Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and Oracle E-Business Suite, providing customers with greater operational process efficiency and productivity.

Following the 2015 acquisition of TermSync, Esker has now fully incorporated the solution into its accounts receivable (AR) automation platform, benefiting customers with strengthened reporting and analytics, faster collections and billing processes and decreasing costs. Esker’s new, comprehensive AR solution is designed to alleviate cash flow concerns for companies, especially as interest rates rise and customers demand extended terms. It also completes the order-to-cash (O2C) cycle, allowing Esker to offer customers an enhanced end-to-end solution for document process automation.

Ongoing and future initiatives

Earlier this month Esker finalised its acquisition of e-integration GmbH, the Düsseldorf, Germany-based electronic data interchange (EDI) service provider, which will allow Esker to further grow and develop in Europe’s leading market.
“We recognise that our customers have a global presence with varying needs in every market,” said Eric Bussy, worldwide corporate marketing and product management director at Esker. “We want to increase our international presence to fulfill those needs and offer the most value to our customers.”

Esker anticipates that 2017 will be highlighted by:

  • Double-digit growth and continued exploration of new external growth opportunities.
  • Innovative strategies surrounding Esker’s O2C and purchase-to-pay (P2P) solution offerings, including the launch of the TermSync product in France and a new online payment solution offered through Esker partner, SlimPay.
  • An agile and responsible business approach: Ranked among the top 30 Best Workplaces France 2017 by Great Place to Work®, Esker will continue to develop its Agile methodology and friendly work environment in order to offer its employees a quality, stimulating environment.

When Customer Service Errors Impact Billing And Collections

 

When there’s an error in order entry, it can wreak havoc on your billing and collections team. If one of your customer service representatives makes a mistake, it can disrupt your supply chain, increase returns and complaints, and delay payment. Although customer service may seem a world away from accounts receivable, your organision needs them to work together like a well-oiled machine. Eliminating manual errors at the order step will eliminate unnecessary complications in getting paid.

A miss-entered order creates a cascade of effects on the supply chain:

  • Incorrect tax
  • Incorrect shipping address
  • Wrong material numbers
  • Validation discrepancies

These problems can snowball if they’re not identified early in the fulfillment process, creating potential conflicts with state revenue and regulatory agencies and weak spots in inventory management.

Incorrect order entry has immediate, unpleasant effects on your customers. Not only will you see an increase in returns, with the associated costs of shipping and re-stocking, but your brand reputation will suffer. Dissatisfied customers will be quick to offer negative feedback and reviews, which may dampen future sales. Goods shipped in error may never sell, creating a backlog of waste that must be stored or disposed of. Re-shipping corrected orders increases your costs and creates delays for your customers.

A mistake in order entry doesn’t just annoy customers and jam up your supply chain, it creates problems with payment. Your invoicing process depends on the validity of billing addresses, contact information and credit card/purchase order/account numbers. If these are entered manually and incorrectly, you may not be able to collect payment on your order.

Even if your accounts receivable team is in a different city than your customer service team, you need an integrated, automated system that prevents manual entry errors and allows you to track the progress of an order from start to finish. Such an Order To Cash (OTC) system has 8 primary components, each of which can be customised to fit your organisation’s needs.

  1. Order Management.
    This module allows customers to place orders through a variety of channels (fax, email, online catalog, etc) into a single queue for processing, eliminating duplicates or order loss.
  2. Credit Management.
    A robust credit-checking protocol allows you to check customers’ credit as orders are placed as well as when they ship, protecting your business against fraud and lost revenue.
  3. Order Processing.
    Once orders are received and queue, your team can rely on automated processes to identify duplicates, flag discrepancies and validate product, quantity, address and payment before shipping.
  4. Shipping/Fulfillment.
    This component validates item numbers against your inventory systems, ensuring agile stocking and logistics and accurate reconciliation.
  5. Invoicing.
    Instead of the time-consuming, error-prone process of manual invoicing, a robust OTC system allows customers to receive invoices on paper or online including electronic signatures and built-in compliance with international payment regulations.
  6. Accounts Receivable.
    Following payment, your OTC system will place an entry automatically in the general ledger.
  7. Collections.
    Detailed order tracking allows you to customise your collections practices on aging accounts depending on your relationship with the customer. You can use different contact strategies for specific groups of accounts and tailor your outreach to individual customers.
  8. Reporting.
    This component gives you the capacity to collect and analyse data from all OTC components using a variety of pre-populated and customised reports.

If manual orders are creating problems across your supply chain and revenue cycles, your organisation may benefit from automating these processes using an OTC system.  Are you ready to learn more about the specifics of these systems and how they can support your business? Let us know, and we’ll work with you to design a customised, flexible solution that meets your organisation’s needs.

Customer Service Department Visibility & Metrics: Our Recent Live Q&A

 

Those of us at Esker continually aim to help others use document process automation and similar tools to make their businesses run more efficiently. We recently held a Live Question and Answer session that focused on your most craved questions regarding customer service department metrics and key performance indicators.

Bill Gessert, President of the International Customer Service Association (ICSA), joined us for this exclusive session. He has years of progressive responsibility within both the Association and Customer Experience industries. Bill also has expertise in business development, strategic planning and execution, customer experience, training and coaching.

Esker’s very own, Howie Hahn, also joined the session as he explained how tracking customer service performance can help you identify other downstream organizational impacts, such as the ability to scale and support business growth.

In our live session we pointed out three particular KPI’s to measure, and ones you’ve perhaps ignored too often.

Top Three KPI’s to Measure in Your Metrics

Key performance indicators tell you everything you need to know about what’s happening in your customer service department. Yet, with so many available, which ones should you pay attention to over others that look important?

Customer Satisfaction Score

This is one of the most important because it gives you a consolidated number telling you whether what you’re doing is truly working. It doesn’t involve just one source either and can range from a Net Promoter Score to group surveys.

In the case of the Net Promoter Score, you’re given a simple 1-10 score that determines how likely your customers are not only to remain loyal but how likely they are to give the ultimate gift of a referral. This ranges from detractors on the low end to promoters on the high end. However, we pondered whether it truly goes deep enough to analyze customer responses.

Gessert pointed out CSAT surveys, focus groups, and survey forms are worth trying in gaining a good idea of what customers want. Surveys are important to do immediately after a transaction. You still need to set a realistic time frame and clearly indicate how many questions you ask.

Setting and Adhering to a Service Level Agreement

With service level agreement metrics, you can determine a lot about how you’re living up to service contract promises. You’ll want to measure your average speed to answer customer requests, and how well you execute first calls and handling time.

Reading these metrics helps you analyze how well your staff performs in their customer service roles.

Availability Metrics

Another aspect discussed in the session was how available your customer service staff is. Here, you need to study the effort level in how your staff resolves customer problems. Studying this helps you examine how you can increase customer loyalty.

Using Customer Effort Scores was also discussed, and Gessert mentions companies need to respond to customers 85% of the time to retain loyalty.

Increasing Visibility

After a discussion on growth and how using metrics helps with future ROI, we went into discussing the visibility side of a business. To empower your employees, Gessert noted three things to uphold more visibility: Send out a newsletter from internal departments with success stories and other highlights; Award and reward your employees to entice them to keep their performance level up. Leveraging awards is a great sales tactic; Place your C-Suite in the role of a secret customer or shopper. They’ll know what day-to-day activities are like with your team.

We invite you to listen to our recorded version of our webinar to help you decide whether your metrics should become tactical or strategic.

Picking the Winning Bracket (and Automation Solution)!

basketball floor

It’s bracket time! Millions of people fill out brackets every year with the hopes of getting it right and winning big. Whether it’s for your local office or a national pool, the chance to win big money is too enticing to pass up. As I have been filling out brackets since the age of 6 years old,  I thought I would share the three factors that help me decide on who has the best chance of winning it all — and how to do the same when it comes to picking a winning automation solution for your business.

To start, here’s a little history. The first NCAA tournament was in 1939 and the Oregon Ducks ended up winning the championship. In those days, only eight teams made the big dance. Today, that number has ballooned to over 72 teams in 2017. That’s a lot of unknown factors to account for, leaving the chance of you perfectly predicting the bracket as 1 in 9.2 quintillions. Yup, that’s a real number.

So what factors do I follow to increase my chance of winning (and that companies can follow in their hunt for an automation solution)?

  1. The Point Guard: The most important position come tournament time. Why? Because point guards are the extension of your coach on the floor. They communicate what offense to run, control game tempo and are usually responsible for defended the other team’s point guard.Think of your customer service representatives (CSRs) as your organizational point people. Not only are they responsible for entering orders, CSRs answer customer questions, handle disputes and make sure customers are taken care of. They are an extension of your company’s values, philosophies, and strategies. According to Forrester Research, great work by CSRs (aka point guard play) can translate to over $80 million in additional revenue.
  1. The Coach: One of the most underrated aspects of picking a potential candidate for winning March Madness. Look for a coach with a history of creating a culture of winning. That kind of coach excels at recruiting talent and utilizing that talent to maximize the potential of not only each individual player but of the team as a whole.Organizations that are constantly looking at ways to improve business processes are creating a culture of winning — always improving and never content with last year’s successes. In order to achieve success, they must be willing to invest in their talent by giving them the coaching and tools to meet customer needs in a timely matter.
  1. Defense, Defense and More Defense. In today’s data-driven world, you can look at statistical splits (+/-) to try and predict how far they will go. Field goal percentages at the rim and the three-point line can all be used to forecast a team’s performance come tourney time. Taking a peek at advanced statistics can also reveal underlying issues that wouldn’t otherwise be noticeable.Visibility into how efficiently your company is processing orders and invoices allows organizations to take advantage of things like early payment discounts, and help the supply chain with demand planning and inventory thanks to the ability to monitor orders before they even hit the ERP system!

Having a winning bracket usually isn’t based on luck … I mean, there are some folks who guess correctly based on uniform color, mascot, or even who sponsors their shoes. Luck isn’t sustainable,  but your organization’s success is — especially once you’ve carefully evaluated your people, process, and technology. Esker can help your organization optimize its business functions with automation, just give us a shout here.