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Why Should Businesses Offer Flexible Payment Options?

Posted by Bethany Frank on 29 Jan 2016


Customers have a lot of options when it comes to just about everything these days, which often leaves businesses scrambling to set themselves apart. It's difficult enough to draw attention to new products and services, but what’s often overlooked is how customers are paying these products and services. For many businesses, payments tend to be an afterthought, but they play an integral role in overall customer experience. Improving the bill payment experience can help businesses accelerate cash flow, improve customer satisfaction, and adjust to an increasingly digital future.

Get Paid Faster

Productivity suffers and growth is difficult without a proper flow of funds. Manual billing processes and traditional payment methods like checks take a lot of work and time to process, and they're incredibly outdated. This also leaves a lot up to the customer - he or she must take the initiative to sort through mail, write a check, and go through the motions of mailing the payment to your business.

With electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP), it's more likely that your customers will see their bills faster and pay them on time. Credit card, debit card, and ACH payments are also processed faster than checks, and require less work on the customer’s part than an in-person payment. They're some of the most popular payment methods to this day, so offering these options is a simple way to accelerate payments and improve the customer experience.

Reduce the Risk of Bad Debt

Slow payment processing isn’t the only problem plaguing cash flow within some organizations. Rough times have left many consumers in a financial bind, and younger generations are having a more difficult time getting on their feet than previous generations too. There are also plenty of consumers who may not have traditional banking relationships.

If flexible payment options aren't offered, these customers might stall on payments or miss them completely. This hurts customer satisfaction and increases the risk of bad debt. A platform that enables customers to choose their preferred payment method gives them more control over their finances, which could help businesses get paid faster.

The Future is Digital

Millennials are expected to account for $1.4 trillion in spending by 2020 and already represent the largest segment of the American workforce, making them an increasingly important demographic to take into consideration. A flexible payments experience — especially one that offers innovative options like payments via chatbot or voice assistants— is more important to this generation than others.

But it isn't just them. Millennials still use technology faster and more frequently than older generations, but there's also been a significant uptick in technology use and adoption among Gen Xers and Baby Boomers in recent years. A growing number of older Americans report daily use of technology like smartphones and social media, and they're also open to new devices like smart speakers.

As all this technology becomes mainstream, businesses will have to adapt by offering services on the digital platforms consumers use most. From Netflix to Uber, your customers are already familiar with innovative payment experiences, and they'll soon expect the same level of high-quality digital service from every business. It's important to offer basic digital self-service options via web and mobile at the very least, but also leverage technology like chatbots and voice assistants to further enhance the payments experience.

The bottom line: The right payments platform can help your business transform a costly manual process into one that's smart, streamlined, and forward-thinking. E-payments help businesses accelerate cash flow, increase customer satisfaction, and engage customers in innovative new ways. Is an electronic payment solution right for your business? Learn more here.

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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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