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Customer Self Service: The Wave of the Future

For many of us, it doesn’t seem that long ago that if we wanted to plan a vacation we called a travel agent. Or, if we wanted to buy a new book we walked into Border’s Bookstore. Or, if we had a bank transaction we walked into a bank, stood in line and talked with a teller.

 

Since the prevalence of the Internet, all that is changing. Many people now book their travel online directly with the airline or hotel or on Expedia, Travelocity or a multitude of other online travel sites. And, think how much money airlines are saving with their customers checking in online before they leave home or at check-in kiosks at the airport. Books are often purchased on Amazon or downloaded directly to a tablet or reader. If you want to deposit checks or make withdrawals from your bank, you can do it all through ATMs and avoid “live” tellers completely. Many grocery stores even have a self-service checkout line where customers scan their own merchandise and pay via credit card to avoid the wait in lines.

 

Customer self-service is a win-win for everyone. The organization saves money by not having to hire people to answer phones and respond to emails. Customers get what they want quickly, easily and without having to waste time on the phone listening to music while waiting for the next available representative. And, in the global world we live in, online customer self-service happens 24/7 with no concerns for serving different time-zones.

 

Many accounts payable departments are now considering using self-service to help save money and improve productivity in their own operations. Rather than vendors calling accounts payable or the purchaser of goods or services to find out if the invoice has been received, processed or paid, they can go to a secure online portal to immediately get the answers they need. Vendors are happy because they don’t have to call the person who purchased the item or accounts payable, leave messages and wait for a return call. Internal staff members can ascertain the status of invoices without having to call or email accounts payable and can get the answers they need right away.

 

Based on the trend toward customer self-service, it should not come as much of a surprise that a recent survey conducted by IOFM indicated that nearly half of the survey respondents either currently use or have plans to implement a vendor self-service portal in the near future. If you are among those who are thinking about simplifying your AP customer service with a self-service application, call (678) 335-5735 or sign up today for a demonstration to learn how an InvoiceInfo self-service portal can benefit your company.