If you are still making business credit decisions the manual way, you may unwittingly be keeping your company lagging behind your competition. Why? Well, paper applications are time-consuming to complete, prone to errors and make for a less than efficient (and even less pleasant) customer experience. They also reflect poorly on your company in terms of your ability or desire to keep up with technology. Not only that, they take longer to process and approve, which could give prospective customers time to change their mind about their purchase or the opportunity to find a better deal. Your company also must wait longer for revenue from the sale to hit its books.
Revolutionizing your credit decisioning process not only makes good business sense, it’s a necessity if you’re going to effectively compete in this day and age. Here are four ways you can update the way you are making credit decisions so you can gain greater efficiencies and make a better impression on your prospective customers:
- Digitize your application. When you make the move to a digital application and put it online, you simplify the process not only for the customer who previously had to complete it by hand, but also for your salespeople. Your reps are no doubt using laptops, smartphones and tablets in the field, so by giving them access to a digital application on those devices, they can have prospective customers provide their information electronically. An online application also reduces back and forth customer interactions which makes for a better experience and improves efficiency.
- Automate approvals. One of the biggest benefits of offering a digital application is that it enables you to make your credit decision in real time, extend credit and issue payment terms for a customer on the spot. And, who doesn’t like instant gratification? Once the “Submit” button is hit, the automated decisioning process immediately begins, and the parameters you set up in your decisioning engine go to work to render a credit decision right away. You create a pre-configured decision policy based on the specific criteria that work for your particular company that, in turn, helps your salespeople better manage customer expectations. Not only that, your credit department no longer needs to review each application manually — only those identified as requiring a human’s eyes.
- Improve Workflow. Today’s automated application processing technologies offer you a choice: to replace your process with a standard automated workflow package; modify your existing workflow by integrating certain parts of a technology; or utilize Application Programming Interface (API) integrations to automate your existing platform. To avoid becoming overwhelmed by the task at hand, start modernizing your credit approval process by flagging processes that can be immediately and easily automated ─ specifically, those that can be rapidly and significantly beneficial. The other, more complex pieces of the process can be automated over time. In the end, your entire credit approval process could be automated, eliminating paper applications and customer aggravation.
- Integrate your back office with APIs. APIs are critical to automating the credit process because they allow for new business models and application development. Today’s standardized APIs plug-in to almost every system which is one of the main reasons they are so popular with IT professionals. With an API, you access data in real time, only when you need it, which simplifies your system, reduces your costs and minimizes your risk. Therefore, move to an automated solution that integrates credit decisions with your back office by implementing a system that uses APIs such as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Without an API and machine learning in place, you cannot truly begin the automation process.
One of the best things you can do to modernize your decisioning process is to retain domain experts within your company. This helps ensure things are done right the first time. And when the whole “automation thing” becomes daunting, remember, only by digitizing the customer experience can keep pace with your competition and get ahead of your customers.