Collecting payments on time from your customers is definitely good for business. While this statement seems obvious, there are far too many businesses that don't make the process easy or consumer-friendly. With e-commerce, you may find customers leaving their online shopping carts without paying. Healthcare customers may fall behind on payments. Tenants may consistently pay rent late.
It is possible to collect more with the use of modern technology and flexible payment options. Here's how.
Consumer-Friendly Payment Trends
The best way to encourage customers to buy your products or use your service is to meet them where they are. The same goes for getting customers to pay on time. Most Americans carry mobile devices and may be accessing their shopping and bill-paying through those devices. If any of the payment processes are too complex, your customer may move on. Also remember that your customers will expect data security and privacy before they will enter their personal payment information.
E-Commerce/Retail: A 2016 BI Intelligence report listed reasons for shopping cart abandonment on e-commerce sites. Although the top reason was typically related to cost of the product or shipping, four of the top 5 reasons were because the check out process was too lengthy or complicated. Trends to improve e-commerce payments include:
- Offering a number of different payment options including credit card, PayPal, or direct bank transfers.
- Allowing online payments from customers without forcing them to create an account. If they do need to create an account, make the process simple and secure.
- Keep payment page design consistent with the rest of your website. Make sure your website and payment page is mobile friendly and easy to read so customers don't feel as if they're leaving your business site.
Healthcare and Medical: According to the latest Trends in Healthcare Payments report, 68% of patients prefer to make their medical bill payments through electronic payment methods and 20% of healthcare payments are made on a mobile device.
- Create an intuitive interface or online portal for ongoing patients to access their bills. The interface could also include a "digital wallet" for accessing bills, paying, setting up automated payments, getting reminders, and saving payment information for later.
- If patients are paying a one time bill, allow them to pay securely without creating an account.
- Add a "Pay My Bill" option to the front website page so patients can access the payment options easily.
Property Management: Landlords report payment problems and trying to track down rent as one of their top concerns with tenants.
- Allow your tenants to pay rent online via a rent payment service. A service that provides recurring payment options is preferred.
- Offer discounts to tenants who allow automatic withdrawal from their accounts for monthly rent payments.
- Offer payment options such as eCheck, debit or credit cards, ACH, PayPal, SMS payments, or other property management payment platforms that are online or mobile-friendly.
Flexible Payment Options
Working with consumers, again, means meeting them where they are. Not everyone can pay their total bill or debt all at once. If they're paying late or having difficulty paying the total bill, provide flexible payment options to help your customers to meet their obligations to your business. Here are some ideas to offer your customers:
- Payment arrangements, including payment reminders to pay on time.
- Automatic payment withdrawals.
- Partial payments or an increase over time to gradually pay off debt.
QUALITY CUSTOMER SERVICE
Modern technology is helpful for creating ease in receiving consumer payments but technology can also have glitches or fail. Customers are more likely to pay their bills in a timely manner if the process is supported by quality customer service. Your customer should be able to call you if there are payment processing problems. If they want to discuss payment plans or other ways to meet their payment obligations, a calm and caring presence will make them more willing to negotiate.
Your customers will stick with your business and pay their bills if you are working with them to make the process easy and secure. Even if you don't use the latest and greatest modern tech tools for payment, good customer service, flexible payment options, and a simple payment process is greatly appreciated.