Posted by Bethany Frank on 06 Jan 2016
Payments are usually not the most exciting part of the business cycle. However, the payments process presents a number of great opportunities for businesses to strengthen their reputations and connect with customers. Convenient billing options, communication, and flexibility can all go a long way to improve the user experience. Below are three ways businesses can enhance the payments process to increase customer satisfaction.
Provide Paperless Billing Options
Many consumers are genuinely concerned about sustainable business practices and take an active interest in protecting natural resources. Providing paperless statements is a great step towards helping a business “go green” and could make one company more attractive to a potential customer than another. In addition to the obvious environmental benefits, paperless billing is also more practical than paper statements for much of the modern computerized world. They are costly, require heavy administrative bandwidth, and can easily get lost among junk mail; e-statements, on the other hand, help customers reduce paper clutter and are far easier to manage.
Communicate with Customers
Communication with customers shouldn’t end once they decide to invest in a product or service. Keeping customers informed about any notable account activity is a proactive step towards preventing confusion and customer service issues down the line.
A friendly reminder before a bill is due could be just what a customer needs to prevent a missed payment and would likely have a positive impact on his or her attitude towards the business. Over time, favorable customer opinions can contribute to stronger customer relationships, increased customer retention rates, and business growth. Alerts and payment reminders also increase the chances of receiving payments on time, thereby improving cash flow.
Consumers in the post-recession economy demand convenience. Recurring payment and AutoPay options leave with one less thing to worry about each month. Offering such options can also help businesses accelerate payments, reduce delinquency rates, and prevent bad debt. Billers should also accept a variety of payment methods—including credit card, debit card, bank account, check, and cash.
Last but not least, customers should have the choice to make payments through whichever channel works best for them. Traditional payment collection methods such as mailed checks could be perceived as burdensome and inconvenient by consumers who are accustomed to doing everything online. Options to make payments via the web, phone, and other channels give customers a lot more freedom and flexibility in the payments process.
There are plenty of simple steps businesses can take to improve the payments process for customers. Executed efficiently, simple improvements in customer experience can make a significant impact on overall satisfaction and retention rates.
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