The moment of conversion is crucial for subscription-based software as a service (SaaS) companies. Guaranteeing a smooth ordering process not only secures a customer the very moment they decide to subscribe, but it also sets the stage for the remainder of their relationship with your brand.
A native order management system built into your billing platform can help process a customer’s order, as well as leverage that data for many billing cycles to come. Integrating these order management tools into your billing platform fits naturally into your setup, working with your actual workflow to streamline the process from start to finish.
What is order management in a billing platform?
Order management tools help automate customer order fulfillment, starting with the delivery of a verified quote or estimate, receipt of payment, and error prevention during the process. When integrated with a billing platform, order management tools can be leveraged to more effectively track billing and payments.
Order management doesn’t end when the customer’s initial order is processed, but instead touches every part of the customer life cycle. Order management modules are crucial tools that can also be leveraged for recurring billing, tracking the status of a customer’s subscription and enabling automatic invoicing when a user’s subscription expires.
Order management’s central role throughout the customer journey makes it a critical lynchpin for your business. Its ability to contribute to every part of the process starting upon sign-up means it has a special place at the heart of setting up new accounts and retaining existing customers.
Why do companies with a subscription billing model need native order management?
A comprehensive and fully automated order management module is essential for subscription businesses. First, it saves time by eliminating the need for manual double entry of data. When a customer places an order, key information such as their name, contact information, and payment method are captured in the order management module. Eliminating the need for double entry prevents mistakes that could lead to fulfillment errors. A fully automated tool can get customers up and running without any delay as well, which helps to reduce cart abandonment and boost overall customer satisfaction.
The data captured by an order management module during the initial purchase can be used in future billing cycles, making it easy to track the customer’s subscription and streamlining the way they pay for your services. Automatic renewal and invoicing simplify the process required for a customer to continue using your service; making it easy for customers to renew makes them more likely to do so.
Any order management module in your billing platform should be flexible enough to adapt to your existing workflow. In other words, an order management tool should be suit your existing business processes, rather than requiring you to change the way you do things. This is especially so in the case of subscription businesses with complex or customizable solutions that require significant back and forth with clients. An order management module should be able to respond to most customer requests and help facilitate conversations about custom solutions, especially during the initial sign-up.
Streamlining this process improves customer confidence and ensures your services are tailored to precisely suit their needs.
Order management module informs the full customer life cycle
It can be easy to conceive of order management at the point of sign-up. In reality, order management is far more panoramic. While it is important during the processing and provisioning part of the customer journey, order management also plays a key role in securing repeat business and bringing accounts to a close when a customer cancels their subscription. In other words, order management informs the full customer life cycle.
- Processing: Once a customer places a sales order, an order management tool contains all the necessary information to appropriately process that order. In the case of SaaS subscription businesses, integrated order management modules can automatically process the transaction based on your existing tiers of service.
- Provisioning: The provisioning step involves furnishing a customer with their purchased services. Once the transaction is processed, many customers expect to use the service immediately. It’s critical that your order management module provides seamless connection with your billing system so that the moment payment is received, a customer’s new account is set up and active.
- Billing: Of course, subscription-based businesses thrive on recurring customers, so the ability to set up recurring billing is paramount. Order management tools should work with billing platforms to provide automatic renewal. They should also be capable of updating customer orders if their demands change from billing cycle to billing cycle. It’s important to emphasize that seamless connection and automated processing are essential; the less time and effort required on the customer’s part to renew or update service, the more likely they are to remain subscribers.
- Completed: When a sale is completed, an order can be considered fulfilled. For subscription businesses, this means a billing cycle is paid for and the customer’s account is active without any issues. When a customer’s order is “completed,” the order management module has done its job; however, for subscription-based businesses, the process begins once again when it comes time to renew or upgrade a customer’s account.
- Cancelled: Although nobody wants to see cancellations, it’s important that customer cancellations are properly processed. Failure to identify a cancellation, especially when automating recurring billing, could result in complaints, customer dissatisfaction, and chargebacks. Order management modules are responsible for identifying cancellations and informing the rest of the billing platform that the account is no longer active and therefore should not be renewed once any outstanding balances are paid.
Previously, each of these functions represented manual processes within a billing department. At each step of the way, there was a risk for human error and manual bottlenecks. With an automated order management system seamlessly integrated with your billing platform, however, those issues are a thing of the past
Modern subscription businesses need comprehensive order management
Adaptable and effective order management tools are a must for modern subscription businesses. Integrating those tools with a billing platform serves to expand functionality, streamlining key customer-facing business processes. With an integrated order management module, you can reduce the amount of time it takes to set up new accounts, reduce errors associated with manual data entry, and automate essential functions like recurring billing. Order management should be thought of as much more than a tool for the initial point of sale, but instead an essential billing partner that stretches from the start of the customer life cycle to the finish.