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The Elite Edge

"Over the course of our business relationship, I've found Elite Print Services' processing staff to be friendly, professional, and quick to respond."

Cindy Heuermann

Transmission Builders FCU

Putting the Spotlight on Electronic Billing and Payment

After a slow and gradual build up, Electronic Statement technology (or Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment if youíre one of those people thatís big on spiffy-sounding industry-speak) is finally approaching a pretty significant tipping point. Forrester Research predicts that by 2014 more than half of all US households (63 million to be exact) will use the Internet to view and pay bills, increasing overall usage by more than 20% in just five short years. And for the first time ever, the number of payments made electronically is expected to surpass all other forms of bill payment combined at some point this year, according to industry observers at the Aite Group.

Think of this rapid saturation as the sweet sound of opportunity knocking. Because while being proactive enough to meet consumersí increasingly prevalent calls for online billing and payment might be a major feather in the cap of your business, itís merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg when matched up against the other ways that bridging the gap from traditional paper to electronic statements can boost your bottom-line.

Like what? Well the whole point of the revenue cycle boils down to pretty remarkably simple raison d'Ítre: get paid as quickly (and with as little cost) as possible. Low Days in A/R are the lifeblood of a well-functioning business after all, ensuring that youíve got the cash on hand to pay employees and creditors, reinvest in marketing or infrastructure and otherwise run your business.

Unfortunately the traditional print-to-mail-to-compensation system of bill delivery and payment is rife with time-in-transit delays, materials costs and other miscellaneous inefficiencies that can keep you from getting paid as quickly as you should. Which is precisely where eStatements can lend a hand.

When done properly, electronic presentation and payment can be a pretty darn effective salve for the sort of stuff that beleaguers even the most glitch-averse revenue cycles: helping you collect faster, control processing overhead, revamp service practices, and enhance the connection that you have with customers. Expect the following benefits from implementing a smart, forward-thinking, impeccably planned eStatement strategy:

1). Faster Statement Delivery 
When it comes to the revenue cycle, time is money. Each additional day a bill goes unpaid is a lost opportunity to reinvest in the day-to-day operations of your business. By eliminating the need for document processing (printing, insertion, and metering) and delivery by the U.S. Postal Service, eStatements slash statement-time-to-customer, oftentimes by up to several days.

2). Faster Balance Payment 
Slow balance payment falls into the same basket as slow statement delivery. They both rob your organization of the capital and flexibility that it needs to finance business activities. Online balance payment greatly speeds transaction time, alerting the customer as soon as a new statement posts to his or her account and providing a quick, easy and secure way to make payments.

Then thereís the added benefit of web-based transaction processing (whether delivered to your legacy system for fast manual processing or completed in real-time using an automatic payment processing gateway), which eliminates the need for return mail payments and reduces payment-processing time.

3). Better Information Security
Information leaks and data spills are a truly massive headache for businesses. Besides dinging your reputation and enraging customers, it can also be incredibly costly: security vendor Vontu estimates that a breach exposing 100,000 can cost up to $23 million to repair. And while current fears tend to run the highest over hacking, phising scams and other electronic fraud, Department of Justice statistics still site old-fashioned cons like credit card theft and mail fraud as those with the highest rate of actual incidence.

Moving the billing process online provides best-of-breed security and data encryption that protects against the printing/insertion errors and common offline frauds that expose customer info and increase your vulnerability to potentially damaging violations.

4). Increased Billing Efficiency 
Traditional bill processing is an inherently resource-intensive activity. Each bill you send is a cash-flow-siphoning mix of paper, printing, insertion and postage. Add it all up and itís not uncommon to have a price tag of over $1.00 for each statement produced and delivered. Online payment technology effectively eliminates this traditional paper-billing overhead: replacing pricy hard-copy production techniques with inexpensive digital presentment technology that significantly lowers the per-statement cost of bill delivery and payment processing.

5). Better Patient Service and Account Management Practices
Answering questions about a bill that you canít actually see can be quite a difficult task. Which is why many eStatement solutions come equipped with a robust assortment of back-end bill management capabilities. Features like web-enabled searchable statement archiving and customer accounts/payment administration tools can help service reps more effectively handle statement issues.

And from the user side, anywhere/anytime statement access, online account management tools, and secure, direct access to service employees gives customers a selection of smart billing tools not available under a traditional paper-only statement processing approach.

The Wrap Up: Elite's Here to Help
Reduced processing costs. Faster statement delivery and payment. Tighter information security and customer service practices. And a customer population that is more than ready to be delighted by the kind of game-changing online billing tools provided by todayís best eStatement technology. If this sounds like the perfect recipe for achieving faster, more efficient and just-plain-better revenue cycle operations, well, youíre actually pretty much completely spot-on. In short: welcome to the future of statement processing.

Ready to learn more about how we can help your statement processing operations become leaner, faster, and much more customer friendly? Weíd love to hear from you. Call 1.800.276.6456 or email info@eliteps.com to talk to an Elite consultant directly, or click HERE for the complete rundown on our EBPP solution.

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