Wolseley moves to frictionless ebilling

Wolseley, the supplier of plumbing, heating and cooling products, with 500 branches throughout the UK, plans to encourage all its customers to switch to eBilling this year thanks to a new one-stop solution implemented in partnership with Macro 4, a division of UNICOM Global. The new system offers comprehensive self-service facilities and an improved customer experience.

Already within six months, 14,500 customers who were using Wolseley’s older third-party eBilling service have switched to the new Macro 4 system. The objective over the next 12 months is to transition the rest of its paper-based billing customers to digital.

“We produce around 1.4 million invoicing and proof of delivery (POD) documents for our customers every month,” said Roger Connett, CTO at Wolseley. “It’s much more efficient all round to make this information available digitally rather than on paper, and of course there is a huge cost and environmental benefit. Macro 4 has helped us to show customers that it’s a better alternative by making the eBilling process frictionless and a pleasure to use.”

Previously Wolseley had outsourced its eBilling to a third-party document management company. However, only around a third of invoices were being sent electronically and getting more customers to switch was proving difficult. It was felt that a more user-friendly service that offered greater functionality to customers would encourage take-up by customers.

Part of the issue was that previously only outstanding invoices could be viewed online via self-service and even these disappeared from the system once they were paid. PODs were not available online at all, which was unhelpful for customers wanting to keep track of their finances.

The limited self-service also led to staff in Wolseley’s branches spending significant time and effort handling customer requests for email and paper copies of documents – especially PODs.

The new eBilling solution is based on Macro 4’s Columbus enterprise information management software. It is designed to be simple and easy to use with an improved customer experience and a user-friendly registration process to encourage adoption.

Customers can sign up to the eBilling service, which Wolseley has branded eDocuments (eDocs) on the Wolseley website: www.wolseley.co.uk. They can choose to have their documents automatically emailed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis and they also have access to a self-service portal on Wolseley’s site where they can view all their invoices, credit notes, statements and PODs for the last seven years.

“Many customers have commented on how easy the new system is to use, as well as how convenient it is to view invoices and corresponding PODs in one place,” said Roger. “There is a marked improvement in the overall customer experience.”

New customers are now automatically signed up to paperless billing and Wolseley is confident that with the improved functionality and better experience delivered by the Macro 4 solution the company has the technology and systems in place to meet its digital transformation goal of going fully paperless.

Jim Allum, director, commercial and technical from Macro 4 said: “In order to give its customers a strong reason to switch to digital we’ve worked with Wolseley to create a next-generation eBilling system designed to fill the gaps in the service they had previously and provide a fully rounded experience that makes doing business with Wolseley easier.”

As more customers sign up, Wolseley expects to reap the full benefits of going digital, including savings in paper and postage and a reduction in the carbon footprint. The company also expects that by making it easy for customers to access documents online there will be fewer payment delays and improved cash flow.

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