5 Ways to Make Your Customers LOVE Paying You
Companies don’t love shelling out money – they want to keep as much of it as possible. That’s fair, it takes a lot of effort for them to earn it. I’m not going to convince you that there are ways to make your customers enjoy giving up their money, but I can help them enjoy paying you month after month.
When it comes to paying the bills, there are a few important statistics that give us a context for understanding the relationship between a company and its customers. According to CMO.com customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable companies that do not focus on the customer. In addition, a Harris Interactive survey stated that 90% of marketers say that customer individualization is a priority because they’re learning that the more personal the approach, the greater chance of a positive response.
Technology has changed consumer expectations in every way and everywhere. Think about all the things people can do with ease: order anything from Amazon, pay with one click, deposit checks, or even order a pizza from an app. Companies constantly evolve and add consumer offerings to make their lives and their purchases easier. It’s a simple rule – just make buying from you as easy as possible and customers will buy from you more often. If the buying process is cumbersome and clunky, people may look elsewhere.
Unfortunately, many B2B companies have generally ignored this trend as it relates to taking their customer’s payments. Delivering your customer’s invoices and taking their payments are customer facing activities. They are just as important to the customer as browsing your inventory or getting great service.
Most B2B sellers don’t have a portal today where you can log on, view invoice/billing history, make payments, and log disputes, requiring customers to do business over the phone with a customer billing specialist, with long hold times,between the hours of 9 am – 4 pm. This process not only aggravates customers; it also takes valuable employee time and money. If your business has a recurring customer base that frequently purchases from you, this process is all the more critical.
These problems are not insurmountable, which is why I’m going to provide a few best practices that will help solve your billing challenges. Here are 5 ways you can make your customers LOVE paying you:
- Show them billing history and open invoices online in a self-serve portal. Did you lose your invoice? No problem. Did you forget if you already paid that bill? Here’s the proof. Are you asking all of these questions at 3 am? The information is here 24/7.
- Ask them how they want to receive bills. Acknowledge that A/P processes differ by customer. Some customers like 1 invoice per item while others need consolidated invoices. A few of your customers may have A/P systems while most have accounting software. If you automatically deliver invoices in their preferred format, you will get paid faster.
- Do the work for them. Enough with sending a PDF or hard copy image of the bill which requires manual data entry to get it into the system. This is 2016! Deliver a data file that imports directly into your customers’ QuickBooks or other system. You’ll get paid faster.
- Move them directly from the invoice to electronic payment with one-click. Picture this: I’m on the accounts payable team. I get my invoice from you in my inbox. I immediately click the “pay now” button. It routes me to a payment portal with my account balance and preferred payment method already pulled up. I make a secure ACH payment. Wow! That was easy.
- Enable auto-pay. You’ve probably forgotten that you pay your electric and water bills every month because you put them on auto-pay 6 years ago and they just come out of your account once a month. Imagine if paying your organization’s invoices were that easy too.
When I talk with people and explain that it’s possible to get customers to love making payments, they are surprised. When I explain that it’s not only possible, but actually less expensive than their current invoicing methods? I end up picking them up off the floor. Take a look at your processes and think about how much your customers love paying you. There might be a lot of room for improvement.
Article by Justin Main, Regional Sales Manager at Billtrust