InvoiceInfo is pleased to introduce Customer Service Advisor.
Much of what is written about accounts payable centers around technology, compliance, cost-saving tips and other best practices to help AP professionals excel in their jobs and be more productive. But, not a lot is written about the importance that AP customer service plays for both AP departments and organizations alike.
Accounts payable serves many different customers both inside and outside the organization: Employees, procurement, vendors, p-card/credit-card companies, banks, and taxing and regulatory authorities. AP is unique in the sense that its “customers” are not those individuals or companies that purchase a company’s products, but anyone in the company who is buying products and services, employees that need to have their T&E expenses reimbursed and suppliers to the company that want to get paid as fast as possible.
AP’s job is to get invoices paid accurately and on time. To make this happen, AP must receive a correct invoice. This seems very basic, but sometimes it’s more easily said than done. Many vendors send the invoice to procurement or to the individual purchaser and not to AP. AP collaborates with people both within and outside the organization to make sure that the invoice is sent to AP, input into the accounting system, allocated, approved and paid.
When problems arise in the process, such as AP not receiving the invoice or an invoice being sent to the purchaser for approval and not returned, the invoice may not get paid on time and both internal customers and vendors call or email AP to inquire about the invoice status.
Here are some types of inquiries AP customer service can expect to receive:
- Has the invoice been received?
- Has the invoice has been paid?
- What is the check number for that invoice?
- Why wasn’t the invoice paid?
- Have you entered the invoice into the system to be paid?
- Has the invoice been approved for payment?
- When will the invoice be paid?
- Do you see any problems with this invoice being paid on time?
- Why was the invoice short paid?
- Can you pay from the monthly statement we sent?
It is imperative that your company’s policies and procedures address how to handle the various types of questions and what authority AP staff have to make concessions on behalf of the company to make the customer happy. Consider role playing with your team so each customer service rep is prepared for how to answer the inquiries in a polite way that keeps the customer happy.
The way AP handles inquiries and requests from its customers can make a difference for those customers, especially suppliers, who your company wants to continue to work with in the future.
If you get a lot of inquiries from your internal colleagues and vendors inquiring about the status of an invoice payment, a vendor self-service portal where vendors can go online to check on the status of invoice receipt, approval and payment may be the solution you need to slash costs, improve productivity and customer service. A vendor self-service portal is a best practice for serving AP customers.
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.