Tag Archives: document process automation

Are You Sabotaging Your Company’s Customer Service?

 

 

If there’s one business aspect that most organizations understand the importance of but don’t spend enough time improving, it’s customer service.

Since my first home-buying experience last year, I have experienced more poor customer service than I could have ever predicted. From smaller instances of companies not responding to requests for information to extremely frustrating occurrences of workers simply not showing when scheduled. Every time left me wondering “do they really not need the business?”

Many companies seem to believe that a single bad customer experience only impacts business with that company or person. Nothing could be further from the truth. The impact of poor customer service is like an iceberg in that it is far greater than what you see at first. Not only do unhappy customers end up going elsewhere with their business, but most report their mishaps to other potential customers — causing companies greater loss of potential revenue.

Biggest Customer Service Blunders

Taking a pro-active approach to customer service is the best way to ensure customer happiness and business prosperity. If your customer service department displays any of the following behaviors, it’s time to rethink the way you do business and the people you hire to communicate with customers.

  • Failure to follow up
    When a customer is waiting to hear back from you, don’t make them wait or contact you again to get the information they are looking for. Follow up early and often to remain in good standing with customers. They’ll appreciate the effort you are making to communicate with them.
  • Lack of flexibility
    You expect your customers to be understanding and flexible when something adverse happens on your side of business dealings, so you should be the same in your dealings with them. That’s not to say you should cater to outlandish needs, but being flexible shows that you value their business — an important component to great customer service.
  • Unfriendly communications
    One of the worst things a company can do when dealing with customers is to not be friendly. In a time where customer service experiences (both good and bad) quickly go viral, companies should know that the best thing they can do to improve customer service is to treat customers with kindness. There are a lot of other businesses they can choose to go to, so don’t think for a second that they won’t go elsewhere after even one poor experience.
  • “Don’t care” demeanor
    Going hand-in-hand with non-friendly communications is the “don’t care” demeanor. It’s human nature to want to feel accepted and valued — make sure your customers feel that way when working with them. Businesses like Zappos have this concept down-pat and, for that reason, receive huge amounts of one of the most trusted types of marketing: word of mouth. After all, in the words of Peter Shankman, “customer service isn’t about telling people how awesome you are, it’s about creating stories that do the talking for you.”

Don’t let poor customer service sink your company. Begin evaluating your customer service efforts and building a plan for improvement. And remember: “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning” (Bill Gates).

Using a Mobile App to Maximize Accessibility & Boost Efficiency in Accounts Payable

If there’s one thing that all accounts payable (AP) departments stand to benefit from, its greater accessibility to invoices and purchase requisitions. We can all agree that work isn’t confined to the office, so why should your AP processes be?

As the integration of business processes and technology grows and strengthens, so do customer expectations when it comes to speed and accuracy. One way AP departments can meet and exceed those expectations is by way of a mobile application. With one, managers are provided on-the-go, always-on access to: invoices, purchase requisitions, invoice approval or hold, document lists, key data, line items, original documents, and the sending of documents back to the AP department or previous approver.

The best part of using a mobile app for purchase requisition and invoice approval? The benefits of one span the entire P2P cycle.

Advantages of a Mobile Requisition & Invoice Approval App

  • 24/7/365 availability
    A mobile app allows managers to access invoices and purchase requisitions at any time and any place. Whether it’s a holiday or during travel, invoice and purchase requisition approval is always just a click away.
  • Work while on the go
    Managers have on-the-go accessibility to invoices and purchase requisitions with a mobile app, enabling continuity and speed in AP processes. During travel, there’s no need to wait for managers to be back in the office for approval — they can approve on their time, from wherever they are.
  • Easy approval
    Approving invoices and purchase requisitions is as simple as hitting a button thanks to mobile applications like Esker Anywhere™, available for both Apple® and Android™ devices.
  • Quickly resolve exceptions
    Rapidly resolve any exceptions and move forward with approvals from a single app. Doing so fosters positive relationships with suppliers and speeds up the invoicing process.
  • Increase efficiency
    With fewer bottlenecks along the way and less effort needed for approval, efficiency in the P2P process is improved.

Learn more about how a mobile requisition and invoice approval app can help your business by watching the video below!

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.

When People, Process & Technology Align

Businessman holding in hand a global connection,communications concept

 

Customer service is the heart of any organization; happy customers mean brand loyalty, a healthy bottom line and a wide horizon for growth. Outstanding customer service requires successful alignment of three key components: people, process and technology (PPT).  The next three paragraphs describe each of these components, with some of the common challenges associated with each, and some suggestions about developing a comprehensive customer service program without breaking the budget.

People. Customer service is the ultimate people business. You need smart, articulate, flexible, creative people on your team, with a broad range of conflict resolution and problem-solving skills.  Unfortunately, many aspects of customer service are repetitive, time-consuming and boring. Without ways to utilize their most important talents, skilled customer service representatives (CSRs) often burn out and move on. Minimizing the amount of time spent doing routine tasks and maximizing the time spent helping customers will help you retain your best CSRs and attract the kind of new hires you need. In addition, you can learn a lot from your best CSRs about how to improve their job satisfaction.  Treating them as the experts in their field–which they are–can open new insights into streamlining their workflows and making the best use of their talents.

Process.  If it’s hard to keep your top CSRs because of the high number of routine, repetitive tasks, it’s time to look at your customer service process.  How do your CSRs document their calls? How do they identify problems, take orders, troubleshoot product malfunctions and resolve disputes? Are these procedures fast, efficient and easy to remember? Could they be automated to save time and reduce errors? Are CSRs involved in designing and implementing new procedures? If CSRs are the actors in your customer service theater, the process is the play they’re performing. It needs to highlight their talents, shore up their weaknesses and bring out the best they have to offer.  Pairing top-notch CSRs with effective, service-focused processes will make your customers applaud!

Technology.  Technology, from the pencil to the tablet computer, is the bedrock of your customer service toolkit.  In the theater analogy, technology is the stage, supporting both the actors and the script. You want it to be simple, intuitive and reliable. Your CSRs want it to be efficient and accurate so they can spend their time helping customers instead of struggling with technical glitches.  Your customers want it to be tailored to their needs so that their calls go quickly and smoothly. As technology advances, new tools are available to support every aspect of customer service, from language translation to order entry to quality reporting. With the right array of tools, your CSRs will feel empowered to do what they do best–make your customers happy,

Customer service teams are often underfunded, which makes it difficult to implement large-scale improvements. By breaking down your operation into the three components of PPT, however, you can identify changes that are moderate in cost but have a big impact on your team’s performance.  A third-party vendor may be able to help you prioritize your needs and help you visualize the solutions you need.  Manual processes that your CSRs find tedious or vulnerable to error may be streamlined into automated, paperless versions that in turn yield detailed reports. Decreased time spent in documentation will free up your CSRs to focus on your customers–and significantly reduce your call wait times.

If you are looking for ways to improve your customer service performance, download this detailed white paper to see how a comprehensive PPT approach may fit your needs.

Meet Lisa – Customer Service Representative | Esker Order Processing

 

Lisa has a great deal of responsibilities as a customer service rep – she juggles many tasks all while managing the growing and demanding needs of her customers. Yet she still spends hours manually entering orders. These days customers expect more and CSRs should be free to focus on what’s most important – customer service.

 

Meet James – Supply Chain Leader | Esker Order Processing

 

Most supply chain leaders like James are struggling with ways to improve organizational performance and overall customer experience. James understands the ability to process orders faster and more accurately directly effects supply chain.

Digging for Data: Four Essential Accounts Payable KPIs

Only 15% of businesses track their metrics using technology like dashboards that display key data, a 2015 IOFM study found. What gives?

Key Performance Indicators (or KPIs) are the bread and butter of process improvement initiatives — revealing important data about core activities in accounts payable (AP) and propelling your project from concept to reality. The nature of this information is essential, as it pinpoints problem areas and can help guide companies looking to transform their AP department into a best-in-class performer.

Four Essential Accounts Payable KPIs to Follow

  • Number of invoices processed per employee per day
    There’s no definitive market average for this KPI due to the many factors that play a part in this calculation, but you can bet your bottom dollar that this is one metric you should be following. Once you are, make sure to communicate your expectations with employees and allow them to provide input to ensure you’ve set attainable goals.
  • Average number of invoices received containing exceptions
    According to a 2015 Ardent Partners study, more than 1 in 6 invoices received by the average business result in an exception. This represents a significant portion of AP staff time spent solving exceptions and clearing the invoice for re-entry into the workflow. In a manual environment, exceptions are yet another obstacle that AP departments must overcome.
  • Average cost per invoice
    A lot is involved in the total cost to process an invoice (e.g., copying and follow-up, IT support, staff salaries, etc.). A 2015 PayStream Advisors study found that the average all-inclusive cost for an organization to process a single invoice manually is $40.70. If you don’t know how much you’re paying to process an invoice, you’re most likely paying too much.
  • Average invoice processing speed
    A 2015 study by Ardent Partners found that the market average for processing a single invoice was 11.4 days. Meanwhile, the very same study found that best-in-class companies (i.e., ones who use automated workflow tools to drive their AP process) took an average of only 3.6 days to process an invoice. Why’s it matter? The longer it takes to process an invoice, the more likely you’re losing money on late payment fees, missed discounts and low staff productivity.

What to Do When the Digging’s Done

  1. Analyze
    Take a close look at the metrics you have gathered and analyze why the numbers are what they are and the consequences it may have on other parts of the process (even beyond AP). If you spot a continuous problem, dig deeper into surrounding metrics to find out what may be causing it.
  2. Make a plan
    What’s the plan, Stan?! Having the data at hand is all well and good, but now you need to create an action plan. After analyzing everything, you should have a better idea of what’s causing problems and possible remedies. Ask the team for their thoughts on how to better the process, they can provide insight in areas you aren’t as familiar with.
  3. Evaluate effectiveness
    A few months after implementing your plan, make sure to go back and review the latest numbers to see if you’re headed in the right direction. Like any project, you may have to do some fine-tuning before experiencing the results you’re looking for — don’t let it discourage you.

Numbers don’t lie. Solid metrics can be leveraged in business cases for process improvement initiatives such as AP automation. With the ultimate goal of running an efficient, well-oiled AP department, KPIs are the transformative tool that can you get your process to that point.

Want more information on important accounts payable KPIs to track? Read our eBook on it here.

Accord Healthcare Saving 140 Hours Per Month on Order Processing with Esker’s Automation Solution

Sydney, Australia — February 2, 2017Esker, a worldwide leader in document process automation solutions and pioneer in cloud computing, today announced it is working with Accord Healthcare, a leading generic products pharmaceutical company, to automate the company’s order management processes. With Esker’s cloud-based order processing automation solution, Accord Healthcare has reduced the time it takes to process an order from three minutes to 80 seconds — saving 140 hours per month and freeing up its customer service representative (CSR) teams to spend more time on higher-value tasks.

 

Accord Healthcare receives 5,000 orders each month, 85 percent of which arrive by fax and email, and the rest by electronic data interchange (EDI). These orders had previously been processed manually (excluding EDI) and required Accord Healthcare to add more staff to handle increasing volumes. Thanks to Esker, Accord Healthcare is now able to process all orders from a single interface, and its customisable dashboards allow CSR teams to monitor daily activities and order statuses, enabling them to make strategic decisions, prioritise tasks and allocate resources based on peak business activity.

Not long after implementing Esker, Accord Healthcare was able to:

  • Save 140 hours per month via faster, more efficient order processing
  • Increase workflow visibility to 100 percent (e.g., orders to approve, orders pending, etc.)
  • Reduce low-value order entry tasks and the associated errors
    Improve customer response time thanks to instant access to information

“Esker represents a customer service guarantee from a responsiveness standpoint: even if a CSR is temporarily unavailable or on vacation, order processing will not be delayed,” said María Carmen Cano, customer service manager at Accord Healthcare, Spain. “We are more efficient thanks to the complete visibility we have over our order process and the reduced time it takes to process each order. Our CSR teams have more time for customer service and are able to deliver more personalised service.”

About Accord Healthcare

 

Accord Healthcare is a fully owned subsidiary of Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd., a leading Indian pharmaceutical company created in 1976. Headquartered in London, Accord Healthcare manages Intas’ European activities with a presence in over 30 European markets. It has rapidly become one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical companies dedicated to the research, development and commercialisation of generic products.

 

 

 

 

Join us at the upcoming Queensland CFO Symposium.

 

Esker Announces New Order Processing Integration Capabilities with Oracle® E-Business Suite ERP Solution

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Sydney, Australia — December 14, 2016 Esker, a worldwide leader in document process automation solutions and pioneer in cloud computing, today announced it is now offering a sales order processing solution integration with Oracle E-Business Suite. Esker customers can now receive orders directly in the Oracle E-Business Suite ERP application, enabling greater process efficiency and productivity across every phase of order processing operations.

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Esker provides a single solution for sales order processing — directly into and out of Oracle E-Business Suite — to automate, streamline and track orders. Based on Esker customer results, order processing automation can help businesses process orders up to 80 percent faster, increase order accuracy rates by up to 99 percent and increase staff productivity as much as 65 percent. sm_ebiz_wht

The integration capabilities of Esker’s order processing solution are built on proven Oracle technology and application program interfaces (APIs), providing customers with a reliable, seamless ERP integration and offering IT departments the peace of mind they require during rollouts of new technologies.

Oracle E-Business Suite customers can leverage the value they have invested in their ERP system while taking advantage of specific features and benefits, including:

  • Automated master data synchronisation
  • Order creation and confirmation
  • Order archive link directly available in Oracle E-Business Suite
  • Reliable and seamless integration
  • Minimal IT involvement leading to faster go-live
  • Continuous maintenance and updates

“Esker continues to reinforce its investment in the Oracle business environment by delivering new integration capabilities to provide customers with even more value as they address both order processing and accounts payable automation,” said Esker CEO Jean-Michel Bérard. “The recent NetSuite acquisition demonstrates Oracle’s dynamic ecosystem, of which Esker wants to be a part of. As we are continuously expanding our connectors’ capabilities, we foresee a NetSuite connector in the near future.”

“Esker has been very successful with its Order Processing and Order Management solutions for SAP over the past 10 years in the Australian and New Zealand markets. We are excited to bring the same level of capabilities and business benefits to organisations running Oracle E-Business Suite ERP applications and soon NetSuite,” said Christophe DuMonet, Managing Director of Esker Australia & New Zealand.