Why Should Businesses Offer Flexible Payment Options?

Posted by Alison Arthur and Bethany Frank on 29 May 2019

Customers have seemingly endless options when it comes to their commerce decisions, from what they buy to how they buy it. As this universe of choice keeps expanding, businesses are often left with the challenge of how to set themselves apart from the crowd.

Payments play a crucial role in the overall customer experience, but they can sometimes be an afterthought. However, investing in a flexible, customer-focused bill payments experience can help businesses get paid faster, reduce the risk of bad debt, and adapt quickly to changing customer expectations.

Get paid faster

Operational efficiency and organizational growth are fueled by steady, predictable income. Streamlining bill payments for your customers can help reduce barriers in getting money from their accounts into yours. Manual billing processes and traditional payment methods like paper checks require time and effort that can be a burden on internal resources. They also require work from your customers and can create a less-than-ideal interaction with your brand.

An electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) solution can help deliver bills to your customers faster and encourage on-time payments. Offering electronic funding methods such as credit cards, debit cards, and ACH allows payments to be processed faster than paper checks and requires less work than in-person payments. Offering customers these electronic payment methods is a simple way to accelerate cash flow and improve the overall experience.

Reduce the risk of bad debt

Slow payment processing isn’t the only problem plaguing cash flow within some organizations. There are many reasons why customers might miss their bill payments, from financial hardships to simply forgetting their payments are due.

An EBPP solution can help reduce the risk of bad debt by sending regular communications to your customers regarding their outstanding balances and upcoming due dates. Email and text messages can be scheduled to reach customers at regular intervals in the communication channels they use most, reducing the risk of forgotten payments. An EBPP solution can also be configured to offer payment options like autopay, recurring payments, and payment plans to give customers more control over their finances.

Adapt quickly to changing customer expectations

Innovative apps like Starbucks and Uber are elevating your customers’ expectations for simple, seamless payments. More and more, customers are coming to expect the same level of high-quality digital service from all businesses they interact with.

Flexible payments are about more than just a sleek mobile experience. An EBPP solution can also give your business access to chatbot technology that can be incorporated into the apps your customers use most, like Facebook Messenger. Chatbots can also be leveraged via intelligent personal assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing customers to request account information and make voice payments using natural spoken commands.

The Bottom Line: Flexible electronic bill payments are a must for organizations of all types and sizes. The right EBPP solution can help your business transform costly manual processes into payments that accelerate cash flow, increase satisfaction, and engage customers in innovative new ways.

*This is an update on an original post published January 2016

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Alison Arthur Product and Content Marketing Manager Alison creates timely product marketing and thought leadership content that keeps Alacriti's community informed on the latest developments in billing and payments technology. With a background in payments and financial services, Alison specializes in composing content related to technology, security, compliance, and overall industry trends.
Bethany Frank Senior Marketing Associate Bethany specializes in content and events as part of Alacriti's marketing team. She's a graduate of Rutgers University and has a background in writing, broadcasting, and digital media. Fascinated by the intersection of technology and human nature, Bethany is out to explore what drives consumers in such a fast-paced, digitally connected world.

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