In a world of growing competition amongst CSPs, improving customer experience is integral for business sustainability and scalability. For CSPs, authentic customer experience is the route to attracting new customers as well as retaining the existing ones. According to Microsoft’s “Global State of Customer Service” report, 2020, “nearly two-thirds (58%) of consumers will sever a relationship with a business due to poor customer service.”
While there are several factors that contribute to augmenting customer experience for customers of cloud solutions, a seamless billing experience is crucial. Most CSPs rely on excel spreadsheets when it comes to invoicing. Undoubtedly, this is an effective solution for small scale operations. However, a scale up vision with spreadsheets can be increasingly time consuming and vulnerable to inaccuracies and related revenue losses due to under-invoicing and other factors. Automated solutions can help remove this friction and avoid 6 major billing and invoicing mistakes to promote a seamless experience and customer stickiness.
A new invoice for every new subscription
It is common for customers leveraging cloud services to up for additional licenses or purchase new Microsoft subscriptions in the middle of the monthly billing cycle. In a manual process, new invoices are generated for every subsequent purchase, adding to the administrative workload of your customers. While they are burdened with multiple invoices, as a CSP, you also must undertake the tedious task of keeping a track of multiple monthly payments. In addition to being an administrative nightmare, it can lead to revenue losses due unintentional non-payment of one or more invoices and difficult to keep track of monthly revenue.A cloud-based automated billing solution to send a single monthly invoice to your customers for all their subscriptions can make the process efficient, effective, and customer-centric.
Inability to stay updated with dynamic pricing
In a conventional scenario, as a CSP, you have to manually update prices to adhere to dynamic Microsoft pricing. However, delay in updating the pricing mechanism or entering incorrect prices can lead to revenue losses, in addition to the hassles of long spreadsheet calculations.Cloud-based automated billing solutions can automatically update any revision of prices of the products you sell by leveraging Microsoft APIs to adapt to dynamic pricing.
Reliance on partner center for usage reconciliation
Do you still wait to invoice your customers till you get the invoice from Microsoft? While it makes your reconciliation work easier, however, it isn’t the most efficient process. Most businesses leveraging your solutions will have a billing schedule and inability to send the invoice according to the same is likely to result in payment delays. Fortunately, automated billing solutions for CSPs can eliminate this reliance on partner center for usage reconciliation and invoicing.
Absence of self-service features
Customers mostly know what they are looking for when purchasing additional licenses or products. Offering them self-service features makes the process simpler and faster for them. However, if you are still apprehensive about providing self-service, you need to rethink your sales strategy. With self-service, customers can carry out their purchases at their own time without any reliance on your sales team. This prevents any friction and time wastage on customer requests to scale up or down.While it creates a great customer experience by empowering the user to gain control to execute his/her needs, it also reduces your administrative overheads and opens bandwidth for new user acquisition.
Lack of flexibility due to annual model of invoicing
An annual model of invoicing may be attractive to you to reduce your administrative efforts and receive yearly subscription charges upfront. But absence of monthly invoicing might make you seem inflexible to your customers who might prefer a monthly billing cycle. With the prevailing market uncertainty, businesses are often apprehensive about making an annual commitment and a push on the same might lead to customer loss.While monthly invoicing can be a herculean task if conducted manually, a cloud automation partner can take out this friction.
Miscalculation of taxes
As a CSP, you are not bound by geographical barriers and are free to serve customers across the globe. While this is a great expansion opportunity, however, each region has different tax rates and technicalities. Generating invoices manually for different regions may lead to application of incorrect tax rates. This can not only lead to legal complications but is also cumbersome for your customers to pay revised taxes as per the updated invoices.An automated platform for invoicing can take away these hassles by customizing each invoice to the customer location and tax rates.
You need to act now
As a CSP, these billing and invoicing mistakes might look small and insignificant at first glance. However, if you add all the costs these mistakes are piling up to, you will realize the full impact. From revenue losses to customer frustration to administrative nightmares, these mistakes are impacting almost every aspect of your business and have the potential to ruin your identity as a credible CSP. Therefore, you must act now and automate most of your billing and provisioning work while you focus on the thing that matters, growing your business.