Delivering Value Beyond Cost: F&A’s Role in Customer Experience
Companies have long emphasized the high value of customer care touch points—those critical moments when customers interact with the business throughout the buying cycle. When organizations are able to adroitly manage the end-to-end customer experience, the benefits are numerous – from improved revenue to greater customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Yet, usually the customer journey is viewed through the lens of the front office –customer service and support. The reality is that many other departments within any organization contribute to the over-arching customer experience. This includes the Finance and Accounting department.
For example, we worked closely with a global Fortune 500 technology manufacturer and distributor client to consolidate, standardize and apply best practices to their Accounts Receivable processes. During this engagement we learned how a customer order—processed either accurately or inaccurately—impacts both the customer experience and the correlating back-end costs.
We were also able to pinpoint the broken upstream order processing practices that led to downstream payment and collections issues. Recognizing our success in the AR department, our client expanded our mandate to Order Processing to reduce these errors, and not only diminish costs but drive a better customer experience.
Being able to provide feedback on the primary reasons for work stoppage or failure to process orders that caused rework and negatively affected First Pass Yield. The key insight that emerged was the impact of 12 points of customer-centric data. When these data points are complete, Sutherland is able to process orders three times faster. Prior to outsourcing this vital measurement was not tracked.
To improve quality, we increased the number of parameters audited from 12 to 26 and measured it against the number of orders audited (20% of total volume) making our goal of 99.5% accuracy much harder to attain — but we did. This was necessary as the increase in quality made it possible to reduce the overall cost of dissatisfaction and order processing quality.
In addition to raising the quality benchmarks, we redesigned the process and implemented Robotic Process Automation to automate the order management process and eliminate redundant work. Through automation, we applied a standardized approach to order processing, boosting the speed of order throughput as well as the accuracy of orders.
Workforce Management best practices identified a gap in the way that the client has previously staffed to order arrival patterns. This gap was corrected, aligning global staffing patterns to work arrival patterns. The subsequent result is that orders reach the factory and move into the production stage nine hours or more than 37.5% earlier than previously possible.
Customer Experience Impact
The combination of quality, accuracy, higher processing speeds and a more aligned workforce resulted in some impressive outcomes that had a direct impact on the customer experience:
Better upstream order processing processes reduced Accounts Receivable issues by 30%
A 23% improvement in same day conversion of orders, with an increase of over 51% in the Americas alone
Cost of Dissatisfaction incident rates reduced globally by 51%, leading to more than $7M run rate reduction quarter over quarter