Efficiency is a key source of competitive advantage in installation service! Many field service businesses make the mistake of remaining fixated on operational efficiency. They neglect other aspects, such as invoicing. A robust and real-time invoicing system is essential to ensure end-to-end efficiency. An efficient invoicing system improves cash flow and boosts customer satisfaction. It creates an upward spiral of positivity and profits.
The biggest invoicing challenge faced by installation service providers is accessing information.
Different databases hold the information needed for invoicing. The system collects work hours from the technician’s smartphone app, the rates and discounts quoted from the work order, and the spares consumed from the inventory database. Collating such information is time-consuming. Often, information lies hidden in silos. Re-keying or manual copy-pasting information from databases to the invoice is error-prone.
Another big invoicing challenge is time.
Many field service companies entrust field agents to prepare manual invoices and collect payment. This is time-consuming and delays the technician from serving the next customer. Expert technicians waste time on such unproductive tasks. They could spend their time better by installing the next equipment and reducing the wait time for customers.
Some enterprises prepare invoices at the back office and email the customer. But delayed invoices are more error-prone. Communication gaps often cause missing out on key items. Also, when the invoice is not instant, the customer may not recollect the work and keep it aside for later.
In a manual system, oversight may lead to not billing some work orders. It may be even months before an audit unearths a missing invoice or some significant work missing from the dispatched invoice. Sending a delayed or revised invoice is unprofessional. There is also a chance the customer might have moved on, and the bill never gets paid. Such gaps in invoices create serious cash flow issues for the service provider.
Mistakes in invoices, such as duplicate billing, raise red flags for customers. Many customers may even rethink doing business with the company. The customer support team gets overburdened, answering queries and assuring customers. Very few customers condone mistakes, even if made inadvertently. Apologies may aggravate the situation by highlighting the issue once again in the customer’s mind.
Even after the service provider generates an invoice, tracking the invoices is another big challenge. The business executive often relies on memory, intuition, and guesswork to decipher the status of an invoice. Delays in status updates create blind spots for customer support agents. Often, a lack of integrated views makes it difficult to confirm an invoice for a particular work order.
Customer support teams often face embarrassing situations. For example, they call a customer for payment reminders when they might have already paid the technician.
A related challenge is process errors. The business generates the invoices perfectly but cannot deliver them on time.
Even when installation providers generate the invoice on time, many customers delay payment. The root cause of such delays is confusing or incomplete invoices. When customers see a confusing invoice or necessary details missing, they keep it aside and delay payment.
A complete invoice containing the following details prompts customers to pay on time.
Also, use simple language that a layperson understands. Avoid technical terms and jargon. For the description of the line items, use the same terminology mentioned in the job quote to pre-empt confusion.
ReachOut field service suite automates and speeds up invoicing. The automated system pulls data from different sources, ties it together, and generates invoices. In addition, the automatic process makes approvals instant, further speeding up the process.
The suite centralizes information and enables standardized billing.
The integrated field service suite
Manual invoicing drains the enterprise financially. A 2020 study by the Institute of Finance and Management estimates the cost of generating manual invoices at $6.10 for up to 100,000 invoices a year, on average. The amount increases if the number of invoices is less. Errors in invoices increase expenses and short-circuit growth. Automated digital invoicing ensures fast turnaround times, reduced costs, and improved cash flow. Even customers appreciate quick and accurate invoices.
Contact our experts for a detailed walkthrough of the Reachout suite.