Blog: Cost reduction at hand!

16 June 2017 Leo van der Heijden, CEO

If I say “invoice”, almost everyone knows what I mean. However, when explaining what an invoice is, the definition becomes ambiguous. Is it the envelope that drops on the customer’s doormat? Is it the PDF that is sent to us by email? Or is it payment information that we need to retrieve from a portal somewhere?

There is no doubt that an invoice contains details of a payment for products or services customers have purchased, but the way invoices are presented is far from standard.

From paper to digital – from frustration to engagement

First, there is the traditional paper invoice, sent by post. Next, we have the digital version in the form of a PDF, sent by email or accessible through an online portal. Then, we have the e-invoice, providing more dynamic details. And finally, a more recent development, the digital invoice. This provides not only the necessary billing information but acts as a gateway towards all relevant details and correlated processes.

Even though more and more companies are moving towards PDF invoices, most invoices are still produced on paper. It seems strange that, in this time of digitalization and innovation, an important document like an invoice has changed so little. An invoice is both a legal as well as a tax document, but we often forget that it is also our only recurring contact with our customers.

For many companies, an invoice is still expensive to produce and process. At the same time, for many clients, it is a source of irritation and frustration due to its substantial and complex content. A significant amount of the calls to the average service desk are queries regarding invoices. Corrections or detailed invoices required by customers have an even higher impact on the use of human resources and business processes.

Reality is that most Telcos still feel comfortable using traditional and tangible paper invoices, except for the costs involved. Since the entire billing process is based on this, the change seems complicated and is moving slowly. At the same time, customers expect both clear and detailed information.

So where can you save the most?

The invoicing process is crucial to a successful business process, but it comes at great cost. Yet, it is also one of the key areas where cost reduction is not difficult to achieve. Paper invoices are by far the most expensive form of billing, closely followed by PDF invoicing and the e-invoice. Ultimately, the most savings are to be achieved when opting for a true digital invoicing process.

The table below shows an overview of these types of invoicing and how they relate to each other, divided into direct and indirect costs.

See how costs can be reduced by providing your customers a digital invoice journey

Your opinion

There is much to be gained for Telcos by changing the billing process and opting for digital invoicing. It’s time to turn frustrations and irritations into customer engagement. What are your ideas about what a True Digital Invoice should look like? Send us your response and next month we will publish a summary of your ideas and add our experience and vision.


In our next publication, we will elaborate more on the benefits of the digital invoice for your business customer and how this results in increased satisfaction and a higher NPS. 


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