One of the leading causes of errors and accidents in the workplace is human error, just your regular run-of-the-mill mistake, and the reason for this is repetition. Studies have found that the act of repeatedly doing the same task can cause us to become complacent, and when the solution can be as simple as automating certain business processes, why wouldn’t you? After all, the saying goes “to err is human”, which means even the best employees can slip up from time to time. With the use of Sonar, you can automate numerous processes, increasing both your workplace efficiency and your business scalability.
The word automation can be daunting to employees though; in today’s climate, it’s often associated with being replaced by robots. While industries such as manufacturing have introduced automated machines to handle repetitive tasks, the truth is that ISPs still very much depend on humans. By now, most of us have experienced challenges when it comes to communicating with AI, so can you imagine the decline in customer satisfaction if they had to communicate with a machine to solve technical issues, have their questions answered, or even just pay a bill? The solution to combating today’s repetitive tasks while retaining employees is a hybrid approach.
Below, we’ll touch on the manual tasks currently holding your scalability back and how Sonar can help you by automating their processes:
- Whether you bill on a fixed day or variably based on the day of sign-up, the process of printing invoices can be tedious. And nuances such as checking for already paid invoices or verifying if customers have opted out of paper invoices only add to the monotonous task. Through Sonar, you can utilize our Printed Invoice Batch feature to make quick work of this process. With only a few clicks, you can select the date to print invoices for as well as decide whether to exclude paid invoices; any customers that have opted out of paper invoices will automatically be excluded here. Once complete, the tool will generate a PDF capturing all relevant invoices to be printed. The invoices included are sized at 8.5 inches x 11 inches (US Letter) and are designed to be sent in a dual left window envelope. They also come with attached remittance slips for customers to use as they need, which are compatible with a regular single left window envelope.
Mailing invoices can be taken one step further by leveraging our Print to Mail feature; with this enabled, invoices are automatically printed and mailed out without any need for your staff to interfere. The only part of the process that you need to be involved with is ensuring there are funds available to cover the cost of the invoices to be sent out.
2. Ensuring customers are being charged the correct taxation amount can quickly become an involved process due to ever-changing tax jurisdictions. As a company, you have the responsibility of keeping up to date with changes at all levels, this can include citywide, statewide, or countrywide taxation requirements. Remaining compliant can eat up thousands of dollars in both time and effort. While this may be feasible now, the reality is that this cost only scales up as your business size does too. However, with the integration of Avalara, you can trust the experts to handle the compliance. The process to implement this is short, it simply requires your Avalara login and service agreement details; how to do this is listed in our Knowledge Base Article.
3. It’s little surprise that the manual tasks mentioned already are to do with billing, as it arguably includes some of the most repetitive tasks at an ISP. Included in these tasks are the countless notifications that have to be relayed to customers depending on certain attributes of their account. For example, you may want to alert a customer that their payment method is about to expire, or that their account is set to become delinquent. The time it takes to manually seek out these upcoming account changes and subsequently reach out to customers is time that could be better served elsewhere. With the use of Sonar’s Triggered Emails feature, you can configure your instance to automatically send emails out when specific events, or a sequence of events, occur.
Upon initial creation of a Triggered Email, you will set the name and email address customers will see the email delivered from, and should they have questions, they are easily able to open up a line of communication by responding to the triggered email; this way conversations are had only as they are needed. You can customize the body of the Triggered Email to relay whatever messaging you think is necessary. There are ample triggers you can use to automate processes here, to read more on them check out our Knowledge Base Article.
4. An unfortunate reality of providing recurring services is that sometimes payments aren’t received and accounts go delinquent. Solutions to this problem include calling the numbers you have on a customer’s file, emailing their contact information, or even mailing a letter out. Unfortunately, these solutions aren’t the most effective, or the most efficient. As your customer count grows, the scalability of these solutions will only hinder the workflow of your billing department. With automatic account suspension, your billing team can spend less time chasing down payments as the suspended service incentivizes customers to pay.
And paying a bill has never been easier than it is with the use of Sonar’s customer portal. The portal provides customers easy access to self-serve options such as adding a payment method and opening a ticket. With this accessibility, they can apply a payment to automatically post to their account. Depending on the configuration of their billing settings, this can provide customers the ability to move their account back into an active status without having to wait for office hours or communicate with a member of your team.
5. The last manual task that we’re going to touch on is keeping track of your inventory count. Of course, there’s the manual process of having someone complete a stock count on a weekly or even monthly basis. But again, the scalability of this as you ramp up your business falls flat. With the rapid technological advancements for ISPs, the variance of what you keep stocked in-house will change as you upgrade customers. Unfortunately, upgrading your network overnight is not possible, and so you will need to keep legacy equipment on hand until network upgrades and customer migrations are complete. To ensure you never run into the problem of not having enough equipment to complete both new installations and service existing customers, you can use Sonar to set up automatic alerts that will let you know when inventory count falls below a certain threshold.
Sonar BI provides useful insights into information such as customer growth, invoiced revenue and inventory counts. To enable an inventory alert, you would simply need to navigate to the Inventory report in your instance and click on the bell icon alongside “Inventory by Assignee” and in the next modal, set the conditions that should prompt an alert. From here, you can also select how you wish to be alerted, who the recipients should be and how frequently the alerts should be sent. As you add new products to your inventory, this rule will automatically be applied to them.
The alert feature can be used to notify you of countless things within your instance: you could set up a monthly alert to be notified of an unusually high amount of disconnections, or on the flip side of that coin, an unusually low number of activations. You have full control here of what you want to be notified about, and who you want to be informed. To read more on our Business Intelligence feature, check out our Knowledge Base Article or watch our Cast.