World-Class Shopping & Billing Experience for B2B



Stephanee Brantley

Accounts Receivable Manager, EBSCO Information Services


Stephanie Brantley:

Hi there. As he introduced me, I’m Stephanie with EBSCO. I’ve been there for almost 10 years now. And what I want us to cover in our sessions today is I am going to tell you a little bit about EBSCO. I also want us to take a look at billing and invoicing for e-commerce giants as I’m sure we can all think of one or two. E-commerce giants and also compare that to the EBSCO billing and invoice cycle. And then I want you to show what we at EBSCO thought about when we designed a checklist for partnering with HighRadius for a world-class invoicing solution.

So a little bit about EBSCO, we’ve been in business for over 75 years. So for 70 of those years, we have been providing information to institutions such as libraries, universities. We have over 6000 employees and 1100 of those are outside of the United States. We are one of the top 200 largest private family-owned businesses in the United States as well.

EBSCO is a diversified company. There are many branches and divisions that we are instilled with, information services are the department that I work in. We also have an insurance services division, manufacturing distribution services as well as publishing digital media, even real estate. So the company is very diversified and branching out and taking on new ventures.

So EBSCO, we are not considered as an e-commerce giant at this moment but I’m sure we all can think of when you think of online shopping. My favorite is Amazon. I have an Amazon prime account I’m sure some of us do but it’s so convenient for us to be able to go online to serve ourselves, pick what we want and just to show up in two days is the most fantastic thing ever in the world. You get easy refunds, you get replacements if something is broken you can pay however you want. Easy to raise complaints and grievances as well as provide bulk payments whenever you need to. I love Amazon and that is the goal to try and be like that but that is a giant and e-commerce giant.

Stephanie Brantley:

So EBSCO wanted to improve the billing and invoicing cycling. We have our customers who place our orders. They will place the orders either online with their sales reps. With their customer service rep, they can email their orders, they can place them through the mail and once the order is logged into our billing system, we levy the taxes at the time if they’re applicable and then the orders are submitted. Payments hopefully are paid on time but we all know in the collection world that some things aren’t as easy as that.

When you’re paying on Amazon you immediately get deducted and your credit card gets charged. That’s not necessarily how it goes in most businesses. So instant payment would be a fantastic thing and a future for us as well. So when we decided to take a look for a solution that would help us and improve our world-class invoicing. We consider it a checklist and we marked it against the offers and options that HighRadius provided for us. We wanted to be able to find a solution that would allow us to process all types of payments seamlessly and also wanted to be able to enable self-service for our customers. We wanted to be able to deliver invoices to our customers in their preferred format. We wanted to ensure a single source of truth for our merchant users, our collection team as well as our cash team. We wanted to be able to manage complex business scenarios so going to take a look at each type of these checklists, these points on the checklist and how HighRadius met these needs for us. The first one would be to process all painless payments seamlessly so by show of hands how many of you in your business do you take credit card payments?

Stephanie Brantley:

Is that something that some businesses don’t like to do credit card payments? We prefer our checks, ACH and I don’t know about you guys but I don’t carry a checkbook anymore. They don’t even teach kids how to write checks anymore. So the wave of the future, of course, is going digital, electronic and credit cards are the easy solution and easy transition. So you’re not issued a checking account anymore you’re issuing a debit card when you go open an account at any bank.

So there are multiple payment options but everything seems to be streamlining in one direction. So before we partnered with HighRadius and implemented the electronic invoice and portal for our team everything was manual. Everything was 100 percent manual as you can see here on the slide. There were 7 steps involved for our collection team members and our cash team members. They are contacted by customers, credit card information that was gathered by the representative would be entered in our processing system. While at the same time the same collector would be storing the data on a spreadsheet to use for future reconciliation.Overnight posting to EBSCO’s bank. And the next day the cash team had to take the spreadsheet and reconcile the payment information with the bank’s information and then post the payment to our system. Those payment receipts were emailed to the customer but as you can see here there are seven manual steps that the representatives on our team had to handle.

So we have two scenarios that allow us to change the processes by implementing and on-boarding the ERPP portal as well as the cash at all for us. The first scenario would be customers still calling us to make their payment. Customers still want that one-on-one contact with their representative. So as you can see here the customer reflected in green the customer would call the representative. We would make the payment on behalf of the customer in the ERPP portal overnight. Cash posting with a cash app would be automatic and then the payment receipt goes to the customer. The great benefit that we found when we on-boarded the electronic invoice and presentment portal was that they had this autopilot functionality that completely transformed how we do business with a lot of our customers because instead of waiting for the customers to call us, their invoices hit the system with their account within two business days. The system’s going to automatically pay those invoices and we could have a customer with as many as 100 invoices a day and they don’t have to call us any more on-site pay. This one, this one, this one, this one or here’s a spreadsheet for you to pay for them. And by the way, pay one invoice at a time. We love this too.

But the auto-pay functionality changed the way we were able to process customers’ credit card payments when they were already set up and it gave us the ability to store that credit card for future use. So the customer no longer has to give us the card every time they wish to make payment and we added the screenshot that you can see, it shows how as the merchant user you look when you’ve been here you can see a saved card option and you can also add a new card for future use which is a fantastic feature that’s built-in.

Here for scenario number two: customer self-serving. This is a fantastic feature that we have on-boarded and we’re adding more and more customers as they show interest in this for customers to be self-serving. This is where the e-commerce piece of the business is coming into play as you can see here. There is no manual effort by our collection team members or our cash team members. Everything is automated and everything is being handled by the customer. They are self-serving and customer logs to the portal themselves. They select the invoices they want to pay and they select the card they wish to pay. They make the payment they print and save their payment receipt and then our cash application posts the payment overnight. No one in our department has to touch it. No one has to reconcile other than to make sure our bank information matches and so it’s very minimal effort and it’s changed the way EBSCO credit card payments are being handled.

Enabling self-service for our customers as I mentioned gives them access to the portal. They are in control of their accounts now and that has been a huge thing for many of our customers. We have more than 35 customers right now doing it. We probably are up to at least 50 now that are logging in and doing this themselves but the pack before we implemented and launched the HighRadius app and use the ERPP for our customers to dig in. They would have to dig through emails and invoices as I mentioned earlier we would have customers that would have 100 invoices so they had to dig through stacks of paper look through emails to find the invoices they wanted to pay. They would also have to identify which ones they wanted to paycheck to see if it went over their credit card limit for the day and then they would have to communicate with the A/R rep either in the form of a spreadsheet or sitting on the telephone with the representative for 20 minutes.

Stephen Convoy(Audience):

Sorry, Stephen Convoy. We also have portals that we use. Do you guys use discounts or credit card fees payment?

Stephanie Brantley:

That’s a good question, a very good question because I know that I came up in a panel session that I was on earlier and I know as a company you can decide to levy those service charges against your customers or not. I know there’s a lot of legal legislation being discussed across the country. So currently we do not levy the fees against our customers.

Although we know the credit card fees are going up there roughly 2.4% to 2.7% right now. So we decided not to levy those fees. Now in the future, that may change depending on the laws and so forth. But other companies have it where the customer logs in they automatically will sign a waiver and say yes I won out after those fees. However, we don’t at EBSCO. So when the customer calls that’s a very common question that the customer asks us. How much is it if I use my credit card to pay, we always tell them we prefer ACH or check but if the credit card is your only payment option then we’re going to work with the customer. And so before us implementing and on-boarding the ERPP and the cash app program, there was about a 2 hour period from the time the customer had to their payments call the representative we had to process the payment in our system to reconcile, 2-hour time-lapse of how long it took us.

But now self-serving for the customers where we’re giving access to the customers to go in and pay their invoices, they’re logging into the ERPP portal they pull out all the invoices they want to pay and they verify them. That you use them and pick which payment option and then they make the payment. So as I mentioned earlier we have some customers that will pay 90 invoices and sometimes they’re wanting to pay one invoice at a time so they’re doing 90 transactions in a single day but it’s improving those specific customer’s payments by 80 percent. And also one of the great benefits of the portal is it’s giving our customers one place to go and get all their information they can get an account statement, they can review invoice details they can pull monthly invoices to be and they can also get a record of their payment history.

Stephanie Brantley:

A lot of times customers will call us and say hey I lost my payment receipt for that twelve hundred dollar payment, can you send me another copy? This allows the customer to go and get their own. So they don’t have to call us. They’re self-serving. This is a screenshot of what it looks like for when a customer logs in and as you can see the top of it says EBSCO invoice portal will go to elaborate solutions from EBSCO, HighRadius was very gracious in working with us and allowing this to be our logo on here to where our customers logging in, are seeing our logo when they log in so they know they’re in a secure place and are doing business with us as well. And we are partnering with HighRadius so the customers are very comfortable going here. But as you can see the tabs that are provided for the customer says open bills. So be any open items that they need to pay, close bills on any paid invoices, payment history, manage accounts, manage users and the customer can add as many users and contacts that they want to and they can internally decide how will this person be able to pay invoices, also to go and pull copies of invoices of course. So they can make those decisions themselves without us. As the merchant tells them, Ok you can do this and you can’t do that. This gives them that self-serving ability as well.

And to deliver invoices in the customer’s preferred format. We have customers who want their invoices via email fax. If there is still a fax machine as I know there is but in the mail we have customers who have 300-page invoices and still want four copies. That is crazy to me. So you know it takes a FedEx box to send that many things but we still have those customers who want that box and I want that package. But we also do a lot of corporate and government accounts where we have to upload to the record. And that can always be a tricky thing to do because sometimes someone asked me yesterday, do you run into issues where you don’t have the purchase order so the invoice is just a piece of paper without having any value because you can’t load it if you can’t put it on the customer portal without a purchase order? And yes. I’m sure every business that deals with customers who have purchase orders face those issues. And so do we. So the customer-centric invoicing is one of the things that HighRadius has allowed us to do. We’ve given us the ability to not only be able to track in monetary invoices sent through the mail or fax but it’s giving us invoices pushing to the customers and credit memos. That’s one of the greatest things. The system has allowed us to do is that our credit memos were paper copy before everything was going in paper copies and then the representatives on the collector’s team had to manually pull a copy and email it to their customer. Now everything’s being automated and delivered through the electronic invoicing through it from HighRadius for us which is fantastic. So and then as I mentioned we wanted one of the things our checklist was to be able to have a single source of truth. So the merchant repository everything is stored in one place for us. We get clear. Customer picture of what the customer’s account looks like. We get easy access to all kinds of data including their payment details trends even contact information. Everything is right there at our fingertips now. And so as our merchant users don’t have to go to 10 different programs they can go to one place and get the information they need. And so here’s a screenshot of one of the customer’s payment history and I wanted you to say this because this is the customer logging in and she’s making her payments. And as you can see this data runs from on the right. It says payment initiated from February 5th to January 31st. So this customer’s logging in almost every day to make payments. And she’s using the program frequently. So that’s a great benefit not only for us but we can track and see what she’s doing as well and gives us a complete view of what her account looks like.

Stephanie Brantley:

Managing a complex business scenario is one of the tricky things that we at EBSCO face. We have multiple customers who have multiple accounts with us. We have customers who buy multiple product types with us and. You know you can have a school district that can have 40 schools. You can have a hospital that can have 40 departments. You can have a university that can have a hundred different departments. So we face that. Frequently where we have. Customers with that parent-child relationship. And before we launched HighRadius. We had to track those relationships manually. We had to know that this university has 40 libraries and we had a track that keeps up with those account numbers either with a spreadsheet or somewhere in some hidden secret note that meant something to the collection representative. So it was very difficult to keep track of. So since we’ve loaded the ERP portal this does enable it for us. So the A.R collection team, as well as the cash team, can view those groupings of parent-child relationships. Customers as well can see their relationships linked together they can see their account numbers one two three and four and all their invoices that are due linked together in a single place to be. And also as we’ve mentioned and showed you earlier the customers can process their payments and print their transaction receipts themselves.

So the benefits to EBSCO that we have seen most have been an enhanced payment processing speed, complete visibility to customers as well as our merchant users our collection representatives, the ease of making as well as processing payments and the user-friendly interface that’s available for not only the ERP portal but also the cash application portal. That concludes my presentation. Are there any questions?


Thanks, Stephanie. You shared a slide earlier and showed your branding where HighRadius is presenting your logo to your customers when they log into your portal. What about your URL in which the customers log in? Is that a HighRadius URL or is that branded URL for you?

Stephanie Brantley:

No, that’s a fantastic question because the HighRadius team was very gracious and also gave us our URL. So when it went to the customers. You know a lot of times you have these things from foreign sites you’re just like okay that’s not what I go to my junk mail, that’s spam whatever you don’t want it. But they were able to give us that email for EBSCO, our domain so that it was customizable for the customers to know it was coming from us. When you log in, when they log in, they can go to the login URL. So if you launch either the ERP or your customers and give them access to log in it’s gonna be your page that they’re logging into. So. Great question.

Stephanie Brantley: Hi there. As he introduced me, I'm Stephanie with EBSCO. I've been there for almost 10 years now. And what I want us to cover in our sessions today is I am going to tell you a little bit about EBSCO. I also want us to take a look at billing and invoicing for e-commerce giants as I'm sure we can all think of one or two. E-commerce giants and also compare that to the EBSCO billing and invoice cycle. And then I want you to show what we at EBSCO thought about when we designed a checklist for partnering with HighRadius for a world-class invoicing solution. So a little bit about EBSCO, we've been in business for over 75 years. So for 70 of those years, we have been providing information to institutions such as libraries, universities. We have over 6000 employees and 1100 of those are outside of the United States. We are one of the top 200 largest private family-owned businesses in the United States as well. EBSCO is a diversified company. There are many branches and divisions that we are instilled with, information services are the department that I work in. We also have…

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Don’t you think your customers would get more punctual with their payments if you provide them with a seamless payment experience that is similar to what an Amazon or eBay provides you when you deal with them? Join our experts from EBSCO as they list out the essential items that you are needed to enhance your customer’s experience when interacting with you on a day-to-day basis.

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HighRadius Electronic Invoice Presentment and Payment (EIPP) Software provides tools that automate and speed up invoice communication and facilitate a faster collection of payments, enabling a closer and more convenient relationship with customers. It automates the invoice transmission and payment collection process providing a configurable solution that supports multiple invoice formats and different modes of transmission (fax, email, portal, etc.) depending on the targeted customer, its integration with ERP systems and a rich search capability enables efficient storage and retrieval of past invoices, backup attachments to minimize disputes and short pays. Apart from that it also has some key features that you would not want to miss out: level-III interchange and surcharge; self-service customer portal; invoicing across email, customer portals, post, and fax; advanced deduction management; and lightning e-payments. The result is faster invoicing and payment collection, better customer service, and improved profitability and cash flow.