One of your top priorities is your customer’s satisfaction with the services you provide. In accounts payable, dissatisfied customers increase cost, sometimes dramatically.
Continually seek to understand what is important to your customers. Ask them, and then measure their satisfaction. No matter who created the problem (and most of the time it’s not AP!), it is your job to address the problem, and often to solve or to help solve the problem.
Following are some AP customer service best practices:
- Think of the “Golden Rule” when dealing with customers — “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Treat all your customers as you would like to be treated. Ask each member of your staff to think about how they feel as a customer. What service have they had that they thought was exceptional? What can be learned from that service to become better at serving your customers?
- Open and honest communication is the single most important factor in establishing credibility.
- Delivering great customer service goes a long way in forming the customer’s opinion about “being easy to do business with.” Gaining a reputation for being “easy to do business with” goes a long way in great customer relations and is a goal for any “Best-In-Class” AP organization.
- Establish good communication skills including listening and understanding your customer’s situation and clarify anything you don’t understand. Repeat that understanding to the customer and communicate next steps.
- Communicate your AP department’s policies and procedures to business partners through an internal AP newsletter, welcome letter, correspondence or vendor self-service portal.
- Measure vendor satisfaction with an Accounts Payable Customer Satisfaction Report Card.
- When applicable, develop Service Level Agreements with business partners that state exactly what service AP will provide and the customer-service level the business partner or service provider can expect.
Why should we all be concerned about customer service? The answer is that customer service can make a big difference in your company’s bottom line. Studies have shown that if a customer calls with a problem and it is not solved to their satisfaction, many of those customers will go elsewhere. And, with shared services and outsourcing, today’s AP customers may feel that they have somewhere else they can go.
To see how InvoiceInfo’s self-service solutions can benefit your operations and your company click here to request more information or call (678) 335-5735.