Much of the value of technology used by shared service centers is determined by the degree to which it enables process automation and efficiency. However, as shared service centers extend their role further into risk mitigation and supporting evolving supply chains, the role of technology in building trust and collaboration amongst supported business units, as well as external counterparties, becomes more important.
Looking at credit and collections for example, sales divisions often are particularly reluctant to work with shared service centers as they fear a lack of sensitivity to commercial, cultural and regulatory issues, which could damage customer relationships. However, when business units have visibility and insight into credit and collections actions, and when they can be part of the decision-making process, this can build that trust; It also serves to demonstrate how sensitivities are being respected. Meanwhile, sales teams derive greater confidence in the support provided by the shared service center when they see incoming flows reconciled and allocated to customer accounts quickly and correctly.
Consequently, an essential capability of specialist credit and collection solutions is portal technology, which allows collaboration and consistent visibility across the business and beyond. For example, external customers can view account details, reprint invoices, communicate invoice discrepancies or make payments through a single channel. Status updates are then available to collectors, dispute resolvers, sales professionals, credit analysts and customer service representatives in real-time. Sales and customer service teams also can check on customer payments and identify and resolve disputes early on.
The ability to collaborate and exchange information efficiently and accurately also contributes to high quality credit decision-making and processes . For example, credit and collection teams often work with multiple credit data providers, credit insurance providers and collection agencies. These interactions can result in manual processes and miscommunication when exchanging data, reconciling payments and monitoring performance. Again, collaboration tools specifically to facilitate these relationships play a vital role by automating the exchange of information and providing a common view of transaction status.
Whether a credit or collections professional, treasurer or finance manager, sales or services executive, credit agency or customer, every user benefits from a common experience and common information. This leads to more constructive dialogue, greater confidence in decisions and allows for earlier interventions, which can boost relationships.
Enhancing collaboration in this way can be a major factor in fulfilling expectations of both internal and external customers, and increasing satisfaction in SSC performance.