Order to Cash: it sounds like such a simple thing doesn’t it? An order comes in, and then a little while later some cash follows it. If only it were that easy! In fact, order to cash (O2C) is a complicated process that requires a lot of work to get it to flow smoothly – and one important part is customer relationships.
Order to cash explained as a timeline
If you’re looking to improve your O2C – and how you interact with customers throughout the process, a good way to examine it is by thinking of it as a timeline:
- Order management
- An order is created.
- It is submitted for processing.
- The order is fulfilled.
- Bill to cash
- An invoice is sent out.
- Customers are chased for payment as appropriate.
- Payments are received.
Each event on this timeline is triggered by the previous action and if you’ve got everything right, it should flow easily from one thing to the next.
The way you approach customers, work with them, communicate with them and deal with problems will play a big part in keeping the whole process running smoothly.
Building (and strengthening) relationships
How the order management process is handled will be different for each business, depending on the products and services offered and how the company operates.
But the key to success is ensuring that your customers catered for throughout O2C – and a strong customer relationship is important.
For example, during order management understanding customer requirements is key.
In the bill to cash process, invoices should be sent out to the right people at the right time and you’ll need to communicate with clients effectively to get the payments in on time.
All of these steps should be seen as a chance to further build a strong client relationship, both to keep the process running smoothly and to encourage future business.
Quick tips for better relationships in O2C
Having a great O2C system in place requires hard work and dedication. There’s also no easy way to build stronger customer relationships. It takes time. But here are some ideas to help you get on your way:
- Communicate– Don’t let things go silent between you and your customers. Keep them informed about each step of the process.
- Manage information carefully– Data such as order information, customer contact details and payment information needs to be properly handled. This means updating details as appropriate, sharing relevant information throughout the company and using the data to generate useful reports and analysis.
- Deal with complaints– Complaints are a sign that something in your O2C process isn’t working properly. They may be unpleasant to deal with, but complaints are an opportunity to make improvements in your organisation and they can actually lead to stronger customer relationships if handled appropriately.
Having the right tools in place can help to streamline the O2C process and also improve customer relationships. Here at Onguard, our credit management software has been designed to help you take a customer-centric approach to the O2C, helping you to improve communications, manage information effectively, chase in payments and deal with complaints.
Learn more about how to improve your customer relationships:
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DANIEL VAN DEN HOVEN – VP Partners and alliances