Posted by Bethany Frank on 18 Jun 2018
Serving a diverse group of customers means servicing a diverse set of payments needs. A complete EBPP solution lets your business offer the most options to your customers, delivering a bill payments experience that’s simple, smart, and secure.
For most businesses, a “one size fits all” approach to payments simply won’t work anymore, especially as younger consumers become influential spenders and decision makers across every industry. These consumers prefer innovative options like mobile and voice payments, while others still prefer to pay their bills through more traditional channels. This means it’s more important than ever for businesses to offer a flexible and complete bill payment experience that meets every customer’s needs.
Personal Checks and Walk-In Payments
There are plenty of reasons to go paperless, but some customers still like to mail checks to pay their bills. Some even prefer to go all the way to a retail location and pay in cash. These consumers might find computers and mobile phones to be too “high-tech”, or simply prefer to make a physical payment instead of a digital one. The latter is especially true for unbanked and underbanked consumers who might not have access to traditional checking and savings accounts.
It would help to offer these customers incentives to switch to electronic payments over time as well, but it’s important to keep personal checks and walk-in payment options available for anyone who might find these channels to be the most convenient.
Online Bill Payments
Most people paid bills manually until online bill payments became the most popular way to pay in the early 2000s, and over half of all bills are still paid via biller-direct websites today. Even as usage begins to plateau, online bill payment remains a top-preferred channel among consumers of all ages because it’s convenient, familiar, and accessible.
Emerging channels are likely to overtake online bill pay in coming years, but online payments will always be an integral part of a complete electronic billing and payments solution. When online, consumers are looking for a sleek and seamless bill payment experience, with the right self-service options to help them quickly make and manage payments on their own time.
Pew Research says millennials are expected to outnumber baby boomers by 2019, and the post-millennials right behind them are the first “truly digital” cohort in human history. From checking in with their social networks to booking a cab to get around town, it’s fair to say that these consumers live through their mobile phones. It’s the device they use most often to communicate, shop, and find information whether they’re at home or on the go, so it’s easy to see why they expect to be able to do just about anything from their phones.
Mobile bill payment options appeal to older generations as well, especially as smartphone usage increases. Things like responsive web design, text alerts for bill payments, and the ability to pay by text are integral to a user-friendly mobile bill payment experience that meets the standards of today’s hyper-connected consumers.
Advances in machine learning and natural language processing are driving significant changes in consumer behavior. Voice is quickly becoming a more popular computing interface than typing, and as the technology becomes more sophisticated, it’s changing how consumers transact and interact with businesses [online.]
For businesses that aren’t caught up with the latest in payments, voice technology presents a unique opportunity to adapt to an increasingly digital world. It can help provide an innovative customer experience on emerging digital channels right as they begin to catch on among consumers – nearly half of all Americans already use voice assistants, and over 47 million own at least one smart speaker. These numbers are expected to increase the more consumers use voice to carry out everyday tasks like ordering lunch and scheduling appointments.
The Bottom Line: Every channel is an important part of a complete billing and payments solution. Some channels remain popular among consumers for their familiarity, while adoption of others is increasing as consumers become more comfortable with new technology. The best approach is to offer a comprehensive bill payment experience that makes things easy for customers no matter how they choose to pay.