By 2020, a staggering 83% of enterprise workloads will have moved to the Cloud. This presents a sea of opportunity for SAAS providers.
With so many potential customers out there, it is important to establish a business model that minimizes resource wastage and that enables your company to concentrate its time and focus on capturing more of the market. Business process automation, and automated billing in particular, are ways in which to do this.
Being able to identify and (as much as possible) excel in meeting customers’ needs is crucial for revenue and growth. And, apart from ensuring the best in product, it is vitally important that companies make it easy for end users to pay for their services. Automated billing can save your organization hundreds of hours spent on manual number crunching, which becomes invaluable as transaction volumes increase.
Here are five of the main reasons more cloud service businesses are choosing automated billing:
1. ‘Set and Forget’: Easy, Speedy and Efficient Billing
Why repeat a task if you don’t have to? Automation allows businesses to set up billing for each customer only once, eliminating the monthly drudgery of going through repeat transactions. You can choose to ‘set and forget’ – the system does all of the hard calculations for you.
Because of the time saved using automated billing, operational costs are also reduced. With automated billing you can run a leaner team, allowing you to redirect resources to other strategic areas.
2. Error Free Billing Means No Revenue Leakage
Billing mistakes are costly. The recurring nature of a subscription business in particular, makes invoicing, payments and revenue recognition almost impossible to achieve manually without error.
It is not uncommon for end customers to slip through the net. They might receive services for months without being invoiced, for example, or they may continue receiving a service long after they have closed their accounts. Incorrect invoicing can cost companies vast amounts of money, not to mention the long-term costs, including decreased customer satisfaction, elevated churn rates and a damaged reputation.
With automated billing your business can confidently eliminate error prone processes, which means less revenue leakage.
3. Flexible Billing
Automated billing can allow you to flexibly adjust pricing on an individual or bulk basis and according to customer preference and buying behavior. Customer self-service is an evolving and ever more popular online offering. A system that allows your customers to easily add, move and change their service requirements on their own – while automated billing simultaneously tallies up the numbers (correctly) in the background – is immensely advantageous as it creates a much stronger customer/user experience.
Providing users with more buying choice, be it the option to automatically (and instantly) buy on a per unit or subscription basis, is likely to give you an edge over competitors that practice manual billing.
4. Business Insights
A good automated billing system will have a range of reporting capabilities, enabling you to understand your business’ performance within just a few clicks. You can easily view real-time financial data and subscription movements (renewals and upsells, for example). Metrics in the system can help you to perform a cohort analysis and look at revenue per plan, monthly recurring revenue, revenue by cycle, churn rates and so on.
This information gives invaluable insights into the customer lifecycle. What’s more, because billing automation speeds up your accounting processes, the financial data you have at your disposal is very much up-to-date, allowing your company to make better decisions based on (almost) ‘real-time’ data.
5. Customer Communication
Being able to have a full and clear view of customer transaction histories is important when offering support. This means that you can be thorough (and transparent) in your communications. Having a system where the customer can freely log into their own self-service portal and automatically have a break-down of costs as well, not only further increases transparency – it also helps reduce the number of incoming requests for support.
If your billing automation is integrated into your API, you can also decide how and when you communicate with your customers, or if you prefer, integrate your consumer data into mailing lists, your CRM or other apps, and sync the subscribers’ billing status with your application.
Read our blog on 'The Big Costs of SasS and lasS Billing Mistakes'.
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