Posted by Bethany Frank on 14 Aug 2018
Electronic bill payments are convenient, but old habits die hard. It can be difficult to convince consumers to adopt new ways to pay, even if they’re faster and more secure. Here are some tactics that can persuade customers to ditch inefficient, paper-based billing and payments in favor of digital channels.
Make it Easy to Sign Up for AutoPay
AutoPay enables customers to make payments automatically based on a predetermined schedule. It is one of the simplest ways to ensure that bills are paid on time. Once customers sign up for AutoPay, it’s unlikely that they’ll unenroll. But if they get into the habit of paying their bills another way, it can be difficult to convince them to take the steps necessary to enroll in AutoPay at a later point.
Customers today don’t want to fill out lengthy forms or spend time on the phone with a customer service agent to sign up for AutoPay. It’s a good idea to offer AutoPay as an option during account setup so customers can “set it and forget it” right from the onset.
For those who decide to sign up for AutoPay later, the process should still be quick and simple. Some easy ways to encourage enrollment is to include short reminders about AutoPay in envelope inserts, at the top of bill statements, or even on the front of the envelopes. For customers who already pay electronically but aren’t signed up for AutoPay, a text message or an email with a link to sign up could work.
Offer Incentives to “Go Green”
Paperless billing isn’t just better for the environment, it’s better for business too. It reduces waste, employee strain, and payment processing delays. For customers, paperless billing makes for a more seamless, clutter-free bill payment experience.
Customers are more likely to make electronic bill payments if they receive their statements electronically, but it can be difficult to get them to make the switch. Consider offering a discount to customers who opt for paperless billing, and perhaps another incentive if they also enroll in AutoPay. This is an especially valuable tactic to encourage longtime customers who still use slower, paper-based payment channels. Over time, a small discount is likely to be more cost-effective than printing and mailing monthly statements.
Keep Up with The Latest Trends
Your customers are already familiar with all kinds of new technology, and they use it every day to complete routine tasks like ordering coffee and streaming media. Millennials still lead the pack in technology usage and adoption, but older generations are also adopting it faster than ever before. Speed, convenience, and innovation are important to all customers today, not just the young and tech-savvy. Help customers move away from outdated payment channels by keeping up with the latest payments technology and continuously offering better ways to pay.
Odds are that some of your customers are part of the 1 in 5 U.S. adults who have access to a smart speaker. However, these customers might still be writing checks or calling your business to pay their bills. Perhaps they’d consider using an Alexa skill to make these payments if they knew the option was available. As customers grow more comfortable using voice technology, artificial intelligence, and the like, they will expect these kinds of innovative options whenever they engage with businesses.
The Bottom Line: There are plenty of ways to convince customers to move toward electronic bill payments, and they likely won’t need much convincing as technology continues to evolve. Encourage customers to adopt faster, more efficient payment experiences by simplifying AutoPay enrollment, offering incentives for paperless billing, and leveraging emerging channels to improve the bill payment experience.