Five Quick Questions: Create More Lines Of Communication Post-Sale

In today's customer service world, the first age where phone support is preferred over web support occurs at age 51. We point to the millennials a lot, but everyone is moving to a more tech based system all the time. Companies are falling behind if they are not offering that as an option.

Id 2453 Accountsreceivable

Industrial Distribution recently had the chance to speak with Mark Wilson, Founder and CEO of TermSync. TermSync helps B2B companies bring a customer-centric approach to the post-sale relationship. The cloud-based platform connects over 100,000 businesses, streamlining processes for both vendors and their business customers. This approach results in improved customer relations, reduced processing costs, and faster payments.

ID: What is TermSync? What does it offer distributors to help them run their business?

Wilson: We are a software as a service solution, or SaaS solution. We really work with our clients and their customers on all post-sale conversations. In distribution, we would be working with the distributor and their business customers. What TermSync does is make it easier for the customer to pay the bill and to ask a question about the invoice if they have one. They are also able to dispute the invoice if they need to, to apply credit against the invoice – almost anything. We also have a messaging tool built into the system where customers can ask the vendor any question that they have. We then measure the vendor’s response time. While we created the system to help handle the invoicing and payment process, what we are seeing is that a lot of people are submitting questions that aren’t even about the invoices and payments themselves. They are asking about delivery times or broken products, too. The system has morphed to be able to handle just about any post-sale customer service issue that people have.

ID: How is this helping distributors and their customers communicate better – especially with younger generations?

Wilson: TermSync is basically a portal that the end user can come into and instead of calling someone up on the phone and potentially being put on hold or passed around – or even just having to wait a few minutes while the person pulls up the account. People really only call into customer support if they have a pressing issue that needs to be resolved right away. Sure, you can send an email, but then you never know if you are going to get a response. With TermSync, we see a lot of interaction through our portal, but a lot of the end users come to the portal as the result of email reminders that get sent out about upcoming payments or due dates.

The technology is not just for millenials, either. That is the group that uses technology the most and that expects a web option before they are going to pick up the phone. What we have found is that the vast majority of distributors don’t have any option like that, and these days really every company needs to be about making it easier on their customers to do business. We are not saying to get rid of phone support or email support, but to give people a web option to do this. You will hear from more customers and they will be happier because you gave them the option they prefer.

ID: How did you decide to start TermSync?

Wilson: I’m a CPA, so I started the company very specifically on the invoicing side: to help companies get paid faster. It was about sending reminders and giving the customer a place to pay. That is still vitally important, but what we realized when we were doing that is that customers were taking advantage of our technology and using it as a portal to ask questions about the invoice, but also to ask questions about delivery times and products.

If you have an invoice, but don’t understand line 8 – a lot of people aren’t going to pick up the phone and call about that. Instead, they just wait for the vendor to call looking for payment, and at that point the bill is 15 or 30 days past due. What we have shown is that if you give people an option where they can take 30 seconds and enter their question – and they know that the vendor is being measured on how fast they respond – you get people being a lot more proactive in the process. There are things that I will take 30 seconds to do – ask a question via a web interface – but I am not going to call customer service which will take me several minutes.

Another benefit is that you get these reminders in your email, so you can click through and ask a question right away – there is no log in or password required to do that. We made it very easy to communicate in a secure environment without needing a login or password.

ID: How does a distributor start using technology like this?

Wilson: We make it very easy. We understand distributors and that it is not their business to create online portals or speak in tech lingo. We have a guarantee to be up and running in less than a week with very little IT support required. As a CPA, I have gone through accounting system changes that take six months to a year to complete. It’s a hassle. We specifically designed TermSync so that it is simple.

It’s also a SaaS solution, so you are not shelling out a ton of money up front before you even know how many customers are going to use it. We don’t even lock people into yearlong commitments. We are confident that once they have the system up and running they will find it valuable – and their customers will, too. We are preaching to the distributors to make themselves easier to do business with, so our motto has to be the same.

ID: Do you have the ability for this to be mobile? Accessible anytime, anywhere?

Wilson: Yes - both the views that the vendor sees (receivables) and the customer sees (pay the invoice, file a dispute) are built on mobile responsive web sites. We took the approach to build our site to be mobile responsive so that it adjusts automatically, instead of creating a native app. When you click on the email reminder, it will automatically pull up the site on your mobile phone and it will display it in a way that makes sense on the phone – no need to stretch or shrink the text to make it viewable.

While this is a technology offering that seems to be aimed at the millennial generation, we are also finding that even those people in their mid-thirties to forties still have a preference for an online option first. It is becoming more prevalent. In fact, the first age where phone support is preferred over web support occurs at age 51. We point to the millennials a lot, but everyone is moving to a more tech based system all the time. I think companies are falling behind if they are not offering that as an option.

Mark Wilson is the Chief Executive Officer of TermSync Inc, a cloud-based accounts receivable platform. Over his career, he has always focused on process improvements as a way of not only reducing costs but also increasing efficiency and improving internal and external relationships. Mark is a licensed Certified Public Accountant. He received his MBA with an emphasis in Finance and his undergraduate degree in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater.

More in Supply Chain