It’s easy to say that technology can improve billing by making it a truly memorable electronic invoicing experience, but first we need to understand what it means to be “memorable” and what kind of technology is applicable. Above all, we know that transformations of this kind cannot be improvised, on the contrary, they require the help of a solid partner that can support companies in such a delicate transition.
Since this post opens with a question, it’s only fair to start right away with the answer: Yes, without a doubt, technology can turn billing into a memorable electronic invoicing experience!
Now that we know the answer, it’s worth diving in for a deeper look. In fact, there are several elements (three in particular) to consider to truly understand the scope of the answer. First, the word “technology,” which is a rather broad and varied category. Therefore, one can (and should) ask what are these technologies and, consequently, what is their impact in terms of transformation.
Second, it’s interesting to explore the concept of “invoicing,” since, in the collective imagination, there is no business phase that is less suitable for becoming a tool and an opportunity to provide customers with an interesting experience. Instead, we will see that this is not the case.
Fnally, the third interesting aspect is the concept of a “memorable experience,” which, despite being a very effective expression, actually opens up a doubt: what can really be considered a memorable experience for a consumer (or user) on the internet, who is familiar with mobile devices, and finds himself using digital tools more and more often and in diverse contexts?
Not just a memorable experience…
Let’s start with this last aspect, the memorable experience. What makes a customer experience a truly memorable experience?
The term customer experience (CX) refers to the overall, integral experience that people have throughout their relationship with a company or brand.
This means that the customer experience goes beyond the simple purchase of a product or the simple benefit of a product. On the contrary, it is represented by the relationship that develops throughout the purchase and that includes customer care and support and interaction with the brand in both the early and late stages of the customer journey.
Having outlined the broad perimeter of CX, we need to understand what characteristics it must have to be truly memorable, because a memorable customer experience is not only more effective, but also more profitable, both for the customer and for the company. Undoubtedly, a memorable customer experience is one that meets the characteristics of the consumers themselves: in fact, users have changed, they have new needs that must be satisfied in every way.
For example, today’s customers increasingly use mobile devices to perform all types of actions, use social networks as a tool for communication, information, and purchases, and they expect to be able to begin any experience from any touch point in order to continue it in subsequent phases, jumping from different channels–both digital and analog–without interrupting the experience itself or having to restart it or deal with repetitions.
In this sense, an experience that claims to be memorable must have these characteristics (mobile-friendly, social, and multichannel), at least at the basic level of its meaning, because obviously this is not enough to be memorable. It is necessary to offer something more, something that is different from what all other competitors can already offer: in short, the user experiences something that he has never seen or tried, or that he has never tried with that quality.
…But many different experiences
For example, a electronic invoicing experience allows the user to manage all transactions digitally, without the need to have stacks of documents or a physical notification when receiving an invoice. From this point of view, the advantages are considerable and also easily understandable: convenience of reception, ease of storage and eventual retrieval, the possibility of managing them directly from a device, including mobile, from anywhere and at any time.
Another way to have an experience that is as memorable as possible is to move towards an experience that is not simply efficient and up to expectations, but one that “learns” from the behavior of the users themselves. In this sense, we’re talking about “Intelligent experience” as a higher level, subsequent to the simple customer experience that can normally be offered to a customer.
This tendency to transform the customer experience into an intelligent experience was highlighted by KPMG in its report “Tomorrow’s experience, today,” which underlined how, based on observations made in 14 countries, many leading companies in various sectors are implementing new technologies to improve the customer experience in order to make it more “intelligent.”
In order for the experience to be truly intelligent, you must be able to learn from the information that you already possess and from the interactions recorded in order to optimize subsequent ones.
In this way, the customer experience becomes an opportunity to gather information and statistics on your customers and their behaviors, from which you can gradually improve, refine and adapt the information each time in order to make it simpler, more efficient, and personalized, but above all more suitable for each type of user.
This, needless to say, makes the experience extremely memorable because it makes it perfectly tailored to each customer, who therefore feels closer to the brand and, consequently, feels placed at the center of something designed specifically for him.
Among other things, this is a context where personalization plays a key role, and it’s a real trend that all companies must observe: in a period like the one we’re experiencing today, it’s essential that brands and companies, in general, put the individual at the center of their strategy and their projects, as we have already pointed out in a previous post.
Personalization, in general, is undoubtedly one of the main ways to achieve this, and an electronic invoicing experience may be one of the most interesting and promising ways. It goes without saying, however, that for this to happen effectively for both the user and the company, you’ll need to rethink this phase of the business, and redesign it by implementing some specific technologies.
Being memorable requires new technologies
In this sense, technology is fundamental, both because it’s here where businesses will compete, and because it’s through certain digital solutions that certain customer experiences are made possible. At this point, however, one thing comes to mind: what are these technologies that can turn billing into something truly memorable?
Fortunately, from this point of view, there are many solutions that a company has available to implement within its billing phase. One of these is machine learning, a subcategory of the broader segment of Artificial Intelligence segment.
Machine learning is very effective when it comes to customer experience: such systems are perfect for being used with the aim of improving the collection, analysis, and use of Big Data related to users in order to build a highly personalized experience, made possible by tracking customer behaviors.
At the same time, however, machine learning is also very effective in ensuring maximum security for both consumers and businesses, as it is able to immediately detect fraud, thanks to the scrupulous observation of the user and the timely detection of suspicious behaviors.
This aspect should not be ignored, as the production, management, archiving, and storage of invoices are delicate and important phases, which must be protected from possible attacks and violations.
From this point of view, another digital solution of great importance is Blockchain, “an innovative technology based on the concept of distributed consensus in the validation of exchange and trading transactions and on an unchangeable record of these transactions, thanks to the use of mathematical functions, advanced cryptographic algorithms, and some applications related to game theory.”
Applied to business processes and transactions of different types, Blockchain has clear advantages for both companies and users, as it ensures a secure transmission of information and documents, which acquire greater guarantees of immodifiability and traceability, thanks to the mechanism of distributed consensus and the storage of the hash fingerprint of documents within the nodes of Blockchain.
Another important technology to implement in the context of einvoicing is marketing automation platforms, which allow you to improve the delivery and distribution of documents through email, for example.
Among other things, these types of platforms are often integrated and based on machine learning and are an incredibly useful video automation tool for easily creating even complex content, such as personalized videos.
This type of technology allows companies to cross-reference data and statistics in the company’s database relating to individual users in order to define the type of video to send and the timeframe to observe for delivery, as well as to create perfectly personalized videos in a short time (from the graphic component to the sound and music) without the need to involve the IT department or without the need to develop specific skills in graphics and editing in order to be able to create high-impact content.
Why all this effort to make an electronic invoicing experience memorable?
Given these examples of possible digital solutions that can be applied to billing (of course this is just a partial list), we need to address the third aspect of the question that opened this post, and which should not be overlooked, namely that related to billing.
In fact, it is legitimate to ask why it is so important to transform invoicing into something more. The first reason is simple: everyone invoices and everyone receives invoices. This means that companies have a formidable touchpoint that everyone needs to pay attention to and that reaches every customer directly.
The second reason is that billing is often not a positive experience for customers. Suffice it to say that the average customer has negative reactions to the billing phase: a quarter of them say they’ve had a “shocking” experience, more than 60% say they’re confused by the bills they receive, and 3 out of 4 people consider it a tedious and mandatory chore.
But this represents a real missed opportunity to improve the relationship with your customers and how they perceive your company.
Improving billing by transforming it into a electronic invoicing experience is about providing tangible proof of how much the company is willing to invest and improve itself in order to build a relationship with its trusted customers – and this is undoubtedly the third reason.
No memorable electronic invoicing experience without technology
All of these benefits are only achievable through digital transformation and therefore only by implementing certain innovative technologies and solutions. So from this point of view, the answer given at the beginning of the post is resoundingly, yes!
However, one thing must be made clear: the implementation of these technologies is important, but it is not the only thing needed.
Invoicing is, in fact, only one aspect of the customer experience that you offer your customers, so it cannot be sufficient on its own to meet their high expectations; on the contrary, it must be part of a broader transformation that changes the approach to your business, which must go increasingly in the direction indicated by the concepts of paperless experience and intelligent experience, which every customer expects to receive.
To go down this path, you’ll need the support of professionals who know how to develop the solutions best suited to your needs, such as Doxee, which provides products perfect for dematerializing tax and document processes related to Italian and European compliance.
And that’s not all.
Doxee, in fact, is the partner capable of developing a series of advanced tools to create and distribute personalized and interactive content capable of transforming even invoicing into an engaging, memorable, and unexpected experience for any type of company’s customer, thus turning it into a great marketing and communication opportunity to be seized on the fly.