Using all manner of sales funnels, social media tactics, and interpersonal contacts, today’s businesses are doing all they can to retain the customers they have worked so hard to attract. While all of these measures can be extremely effective in helping you hold onto your valuable buyer base, don’t forget about another equally helpful tool: your billing system. As mundane as it might sound, the strategies you use to charge and collect payments from people can significantly affect their loyalty to your company in several ways.
Tailoring your customers’ buying experiences.
In addition to the one-on-one relationships you may have been building for years with your walk-in and phone customers, the internet, social media, email, and other technological advances now allow you to expand your reach in other ways. Thanks to customer relationship management software, tracking systems, and easily updatable databases, you can now personalize every aspect of your customers’ communications with you. Better yet, you won’t just be creating an illusion of customizability; instead, you’ll actually get to know each person’s preferences so well that you can give them the buying and payment experiences they prefer.
To that end, your billing software can be used to suit your customers’ individual preferences. Whereas one person might prefer to pay with a credit card, another will want to have the money seamlessly debited from their account. Companies that do business internationally usually accept several different currencies as well, a process that is facilitated by top-tier billing software. Buyers who are satisfied with every aspect of the services they receive from you, including the all-important payment experience, will be much more likely to remain loyal.
The importance of a secure payment platform.
Whether you process payments through traditional countertop credit card terminals, via your phone using a card reader and payment software, or via a virtual system for your online clients, protecting the security of your customers’ sensitive data is of paramount importance. From your buyers’ perspective, data safety is crucial because it protects them from the financial and privacy-related consequences of a breach. As a merchant who accepts credit cards, you are required to adhere to Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS), which your payments partner should be proactive in assisting you with. While you are responsible for monitoring and auditing the security of your own separate infrastructure, knowing that these third-party systems are as secure as possible helps to enhance your business’s credibility and ensure that even if a security incident does occur, your customers will receive the maximum level of protection.
Making late and failed payments management as painless as possible.
Nothing can ruin a relationship faster than a disagreement over money and this definitely holds true in the business world as well. Late payments can cramp your cash flow and lead to frustration and tension, not to mention hours of time spent chasing delinquent customers. Billing software helps to alleviate the problems arising from these situations by automating the rebilling process. With a good payment system in place, it will no longer be incumbent upon you or a member of your staff to remember to send out a notification of late payment. Instead, the software will automatically generate a notice that informs the customer of the situation and urges them to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. In many cases, this gentle nudge will be sufficient encouragement and the problem will be settled without any additional intervention from you. In the event this effort fails and you do have to make additional calls, you’ll have the advantage of being able to refer back to the second bill that was sent. While there are rare situations in which a customer deliberately sets out to cheat you of what they owe, the fact is most late payments are the result of simple oversight. Your billing software can go a long way toward correcting these innocent mistakes without putting a damper on your long-term relationship with your customers.
Another problematic payment situation can arise if a customer’s transaction is rejected. This can happen for any number of reasons and may lead to escalating complications for everyone involved. However, your billing software enables you to plan for potential payment failures in advance before the invoice is even sent, preventing much of the negative fall-out that can occur if these inadvertent mistakes are allowed to travel through your systems.
Eliminating billing mistakes.
While most errors are made by customers when it comes to late payments, merchants can also make missteps. Once again, your billing software can save the day. That’s because your software allows you to generate a variety of reports that will provide you with insights into your billing system, including the distribution of your bills, a complete list of your customers, and an accurate chronicling of invalid customer information and transaction details. Once armed with this information, you can take steps to correct inconsistencies and ensure buyers receive accurate invoices in a timely fashion.
Putting the power in customer hands through self-service subscription management.
Offering recurring billing is a win-win, as it furnishes you with predictable cash flow and offers maximum convenience to your customers. Adding a self-service portal allows subscribers to have full control over their account, eliminating wait times, and letting customers control their own payments. Furthermore, the portal enables you to offer special promotions.
Providing you with tools to enhance your relationship with customers.
When people are allowed to shape their own payments and customer profiles in your portal, it does more than just increase their personal satisfaction. It also gives you information you can utilize to tailor each customer’s experience with your products and services to their unique needs. As a result, you can follow up with content designed exclusively for each merchant. Finally, you are able to follow up with your client. This check-in enables you to, for example, assess why someone wishes to downgrade the services they are receiving, affording you the opportunity to clear up any misunderstandings.
If your company is to succeed, it must provide products or services that meet a need, as well as superior customer service that can guide buyers through every phase of the purchase, invoice, and return process. This is true whether you accept most of your payments online or via in-store credit card terminals. Equipping your business with a robust payment system is one of the best ways to boost the efficiency of your infrastructure while enhancing the satisfaction of your precious customer base.