Increasing B2B Loyalty With Improved Customer Experience

b2b einvoiceThe last mile in any business to business transaction, collecting payment, can be a point of friction or a seamless part of a great buying experience. Too often, its the former due to a multiple roadblocks including paper invoicing, and accounts receivable staff availability for time zone differences.

Established family businesses often have the same customers for generations and they’re fiercely loyal. Or are they? In a Bain & Company survey of 290 executives in B2B industries throughout 11 countries, 68% of respondents said customers are less loyal than they used to be. Technology can be a game changer for increasing loyalty.

Common business to business billing scenarios for distributors without ecommerce capabilities:

  • Distributor A sends invoices via text or email and lets their customer choose their experience and how they want to pay. Pay from the email/text or login to a portal? Store and tokenize ACH or credit card or manually enter each time? Send check in the mail?
  • Distributor B sends invoices via email and requires customer to login to a portal to make payments.
  • Distributor C has an online pay page customers can use to pay any amount.
  • Distributor D send invoices via email, and customers send checks in the mail.
  • Distributor E sends invoice and credit card authorization form via email, then gets a fax back, key enters into a virtual terminal.

Which billing strategy delivers the optimal customer experience? Customers want to interact with you in multiple ways, so if you’re still doing business the same way you have for decades, customers have likely shifted some of their business, or maybe all of it, to another vendor. Price is not the likely culprit. In a retail study about millennials, just 15% always purchase from the lowest price retailer, while 38% cited convenience as a reason to not purchase. 58% said they’d take advantage of self-checkout on their own mobile device.

What does this mean for B2B distribution companies? Think like your customers. Are you making it easy to do business? Are you increasing their efficiency? What’s the opportunity cost of not updating? I once sought a new distributor for a product an existing supplier discontinued. I found one, but didn’t place the first order. Why not? They required calling in with my credit card information citing it would be more secure. We were in different time zones and the phone was busy, or the person at lunch, and it was just plain inconvenient to keep trying.

A distributor recently advised me they don’t store anything – they require a credit card authorization form for every single purchase. Talk about driving customers away! Even a simple hosted pay page can alleviate the need for paper forms, immensely increase customer convenience, and increase cash flow to boot. While increasing a credit line is a possibility, some customers use them as a tool to self-manage credit, increasing purchasing without having to interact with anyone.

Invoicing and payment technology updates are critical to garnering customer loyalty, regardless of the payment type. The more flexible the solution, the more likely each customer can interact with your business via their preferred method. Today’s technology supports a myriad of payment types, including ACH, credit card, wire and others, and multiple ways to interact for making payments from email to text and beyond. Delighted customers are more loyal and more likely to refer new business.

Christine Speedy is an authorized reseller for CenPOS, a cloud-based, end-to-end payments engine that drives enterprise-class solutions for businesses, saving them time and money, while improving their customer engagement. The secure, cloud-based solution optimizes acceptance for all payment types across multiple channels without disrupting the merchant’s banking relationships. 954-942-0483

Expedited payments vs BillTrust vs CenPOS EBPP EIPP

If you’re considering jumping into expedited payments vs CenPOS Electronic Bill Presentment & Payment (EBPP), also known as Electronic Invoice Presentment & Payment (EIPP) read on. I received an email blast today that included link to download a study about expedited payments. The goal of both systems is to enable immediate payment for a bill. In the case of utilities, this can be critical to enable turning on or preventing the turning off of a service.

Bookmark or favorites this page, download the expedited payments article, read and then jump back here.

expedited payments

OK, you’ve read the study right? How much do you think it will cost to use an expedited payments solution? Installation and set up? I’ve paid my bills online probably since the first time it was offered. I consider myself an early adopter of technology. In business and personal I have exactly ZERO customers or vendors using ANY expedited payment solution remotely like this. I do have one vendor using Freshbooks and another using BillTrust. This type of service will grow.

Let’s compare any other solution to our CenPOS EBPP solution.

ITEM Expedited payment, PreCash Billocity, BillTrust CenPOS EBPP , virtual terminal, and POS
accept credit and debit cards yes yes
ACH yes yes
wire no yes
pay in store & pay in cash varies yes
requires payor to login to pay yes no
push invoice to customer varies yes
dashboard reporting with key metrics by any merchant group set up no yes
automated interchange optimization to lower payment processing fees no yes
automated email if bill not paid if available, fixed 30 day yes, flexible interval
automated credit card expiration notification and management module ? yes, automated card updater also supported
installation $3000 and up; $20,000 + common $199 average
monthly fee ? It’s a lot Minimal
User fee varies none
Mobile set up fee extra free
Mobile use fee extra all fees same regardless of source
Create invoice fee ? No
Deliver your invoices electronically ? Transaction fees, not for invoice delivery
API ? Free

Each of the solutions has something that the other does not. I’ve only touched on a fraction of the features for any of the options reviewed. CenPOS is the most robust and most likely to reduce merchant processing costs. Many new features are in development based on customer requests.

Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment – EBPP billing service

Extending traditional electronic billing solutions, 3D Merchant announces a new solution that enables merchants to deliver invoices and receive payments via email. Electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) is a process that enables bills to be created, delivered, and paid over the Internet. The new service utilizes a payment object to enable secure payments in a PCI Compliant environment.

Here are some of the more significant competitive advantages over others on the market:

  • Pay via email embedded object with check or credit/debit card – no login required.
  • Pay in store cash, check or credit/debit card
  • Automated discounting with payment type steering- offer customers a percent or a flat amount for using your preferred payment type
  • Automated resend if bill is not paid
  • Merchants can look up customer transaction history regardless of payment location- retail, phone, or EBPP
  • Interchange optimization and least cost routing – system dynamically qualifies merchant for lowest cost interchange
  • Eliminate software, hardware and human errors across all payment input types
  • Extensive research capability- 7 year data storage using elements that merchants really want to look up- by customer name, invoice number, last 4 digits of a credit card and other criteria.


EBPP Electronic Bill Presentment & Payment

    For more information, please see Electronic Bill Presentment & Payment (EBPP) and bookmark this for additional articles coming.