Tag Archives: dashboards

Meet Susan – Life Science Industry Customer Service Representative | Esker Order Processing


Susan has her MBA and is a customer service representative in the Life Science industry. She faces unique challenges in this industry and recognizes the importance of accuracy in her position. But she is frustrated most of her time is spent manually entering sales orders.

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How to take your customer issue management to the next level

Faster Resolutions – Stronger Relationships

Wrong colour, missing part, damaged goods… Most of us have experienced this kind of trouble when receiving goods that we have ordered. As a company, receiving defective or incorrect products can have significant negative impact on your business: delay in manufacturing, unhappy customers, postponing of activities…

As a vendor shipping goods, you know how such issues can trigger customer dissatisfaction and you want to handle the issue in a timely and efficient manner before this snowballs into bigger problems.

In most companies, Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) use a manual process to deal with customer issues. An Excel spreadsheet or an issue tracking feature in their CRM that needs to be complemented by emails. And with time, as the number of customers grows, the list of issues increases. Those manual solutions quickly show their limitations: you struggle to find similar cases or to access the current status of a customer request and management does not have visibility on the issues in progress at the company level.

Good news: you are not alone and solutions exist: Customer Issue Management (CIM) solutions.

What is a Customer Issue Management solution?

A Customer Issue Management solution is a portal allowing you to

  • Log issues,
  • Propose resolutions,
  • Approve resolutions with smart workflow and
  • Close customer issues.

A good CIM solution is also more than that. It integrates with your ERP, allowing you to retrieve orders, claims and delivery notes into the CIM application.

You should be able to track issues easily with a simple dashboard. You also want to automatically notify each customer of the progress of its issues or claims. If the approval of solutions involve more than one person, you can easily add approvers to the workflow, still from the CIM application (no need to fire up Outlook for this!).

A powerful search engine allows you to retrieve past cases, whether you need history for a given company or for a given problem.

dashboardsWe also recommend that you choose a CIM solution with dashboards and reporting features. This way, you will know exactly how many issue cases are in progress at any time. You can also measure the performance of your customer service by comparing the number of solved issues from one month to another, for instance. Remember, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

What are the benefits of a CIM solution?

The first and probably most important benefit of using a CIM solution is that you will increase customer satisfaction and improve your relationship with your customers. Indeed, by centralising your issue resolution process, you will provide your customers with a resolution much faster than before.

Moreover, internal and external collaboration is enhanced. You will be able to set automatic notifications to be sent to your customer to give him/her visibility on the status of his/her case. Internally, you can also customise the solution approval workflow.

In addition to this, the history of all issues available in the application will be a true knowledge database for you and your team. If someone had the same issue before and found an appropriate solution, there is no need for you to spend time on “reinventing the wheel”!

This knowledge database will also be precious when your company decides on future feature developments and product quality improvement.
And again, dashboards and reports will allow you to measure the performance of your team, hence driving greater efficiency in your team as well as reducing the stress level associated with customer issues and claims.

It’s time for you to get a fit process and a healthy business!

Learn more about Esker’s customer issue management solution.

Tracking the health of your Accounts Payable process

Accounts Payable healthHealth, and more precisely, measuring your health, is the new craze. With Microsoft recently launching its new tracking wearable device Band, people can track and measure dozens of parameters related to their activities and their health. Already most runners and cyclists use applications such as RunKeeper and Strava to track, measure, map and analyse their runs and rides. And then there is the social aspect of sharing your data with your friends as these applications also come with a Facebook style website where you can follow other people, share your data, compare your activities and performance against yourself and others, and even share pictures.

So how does this trend impact the traditional Accounts Payable (AP) process? Clearly paper-based AP processes do not allow for much tracking and measurement. Of course, one could manually and painfully record the date of reception of a paper invoice and the date when the invoice data was entered into the company’s ERP and by whom. Similarly one could record the time it takes for each invoice to complete the coding and approval workflow. Although some tracking and measurement are possible, barely any company invests time and resources to do so with their paper-based AP processes.

Since the Global Financial Crisis companies have focussed on cost reduction as growth has significantly slowed down in many industries. Those companies reviewed many of their internal processes and targeted their back office operations that involved plenty of manual and paper-based processes.

Accounts payable automation solutions help reduce operational costs via improved productivity of AP officers, the elimination of manual processes, the introduction of digital workflow and electronic archiving.

Digitalised business processes provide the perfect conditions for on-going tracking and measurement of the ‘health’ of the processes. Since each step, each activity is automatically recorded by the software solution then this data can be made available through dashboards and reports.

No need to equip all AP officers with a Microsoft Band though. An AP automation solution constantly tracks and measures all AP key performance indicators (KPIs) and provides the data via dashboards for real time monitoring of the AP process and reports for in-depth analysis.

Moving from a manual and paper-based AP process to a digitalised and automated AP process creates the opportunity for management to implement clear KPIs for AP officers and for the overall AP process. And since it is well known that ‘you can’t manage it if you can’t measure it’, then the new capabilities of tracking and measuring KPIs allow management to drive further productivity and business process efficiency. It’s no coincidence that the highest performing AP departments are exceptional in the very areas that automation is known to improve.

Here are some KPIs typically used to track the health of your AP processes and the benefits you can achieve. These KPIs are time consuming to measure in a manual paper-based AP process and readily available with an automated AP solution:

  1. Measure the number of invoices processed by each AP officer. This metric can change significantly after automating your process. It also helps identify any further training need.
  2. Measure the processing cost of each invoice. Start to add up such costs for just one invoice, and you have yourself one expensive AP process.
  3. Measure the timeliness of your payments. You want to have a good relationship with your vendors so that you can be in a good position to negotiate, get discounts and avoid penalties.
  4. Are you entitled to any discounts for early payments? Then measure your captured discounts.
  5. Measure your level of automation already implemented. Sorry, email doesn’t count as automation…
  6. How many invoices do you pay twice or multiple times? With automation, this figure will be down to zero.
  7. Calculate the percentage of duplicate invoices received (and hence not processed twice and, more importantly, not paid twice).

After assessing the health of your current AP process with these 7 KPIs, you might want to improve them by automating your AP process. As you follow the way to automation, you will be able to use this first assessment to measure your progress. Indeed, you can compare your KPIs before automation and with automation. Dashboards and reports integrated in your AP automation solution will help you do so.

DashboardsDashboards provide every user (AP officer, AP Manager, Finance Director, CFO) with readily available information needed to perform their daily tasks, monitor performances, and spot problems or opportunities as soon as they arise, making every action smarter and more effective.

Users can effortlessly access the right information when they need it. Packaged KPIs and dashboards remove headaches for IT. Based on best practices and industry standards, these metrics perfectly meet the needs of AP workflow users.

Looking for additional, more specific indicators? Choose a solution with an easy-to-use interface that allows you to choose what you want to display and to which user or profile. And, you are free to remove, edit or add other indicators to your dashboards. Reports can be run or scheduled to see how many pending invoices are waiting to be processed and how much cash they account for. Vendor invoices reports (e.g., invoices pending approval, invoices by status, number of invoices processed by full-time employees, etc.) can be run from the interface, along with the option to build your own reports.

You can also automatically provide regular reporting to managers. You only need to define when, at what frequency, and to whom a report needs to be automatically emailed. Remember, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

These 7 essential KPIs, combined with dashboards and reports, will help you effectively manage your Accounts Payable processes.