When it comes to invoicing your clients and customers, sending a physical bill can be a cumbersome process – for both the business owner and the client. Giving clients seamless digital payment options to view and pay an invoice online or via their smartphone can improve cash flow as well as reduce production, labour, and mailing costs associated with distributing traditional billing statements.
This transition can also make bill paying more convenient for your customers. For example, 47% of Millennial customers and 49% of Generation X customers use e-billing options according to the Consumer Bill Payment Shifts and Strategies report by Wells Fargo and Kansas City Power & Light Company. The report also found that 14% of Millennials and 16% of Generation X customers pay bills via traditional mail.
Consumers opting to make digital payments (both online and mobile) also has grown a combined 24% in 2016, according to the report. A comprehensive e-billing process can be a great way to streamline costs, provide payment options that are aligned with your customers’ preferences, and market additional service offerings.
Here are four ways to successfully integrate a robust digital billing process into your business:
1. Make it an incremental process
If your organization is building out your e-billing process, it needs to be a top-down initiative that is led at the executive level. It’s best for both your team and your customers to make the transition in phases and to communicate to your customers about coming changes and what to expect a few months in advance. This is especially important for customers who are more familiar with the traditional billing process and have to develop trust for a new system where they provide their banking or credit card information directly. Developing a strategy for each phase of the rollout process can make the process more seamless for both your staff and customers. During each phase of the process, teams can complete different aspects of the rollout in tandem. For example, as the development team is configuring the new payment system, the marketing team begins sending out communications to customers, notifying them of impending changes.
2. Incentivise your customers to make the switch
If you want your organization’s e-billing process to be widely adopted by customers, you need to find what will motivate them to make the switch. For example, if you sent out customer feedback surveys prior to rollout and found that your Millennial customers are eco-savvy, it would be worth it to target the aspect of paperless billing as a motivation for them to sign up.
Another approach is to send communications to your customer base that explain the benefits of the e-billing process and encourage them to pay their bill/invoice electronically. You should allow them to opt-out and receive a paper statement, but adding a small monthly fee for paper statements could give them and added nudge to go digital.
3. Provide real-time offers to your customers
Transitioning to an e-billing platform can also provide your organization greater flexibility in reaching out to customers with real-time offers and in cross promoting additional products and services. For example, a financial institution can offer customer-specific promotions, like an auto loan or mortgage, with the most current interest rates, instead of sending a mailer that requires an interest rate to be binding for a certain amount of time.
4. Find suppliers that are leading the way in digital billing
Seek out and align with suppliers that have developed strong digital billing platforms and can provide assistance and strategies to help you implement your organization’s goals. An example of this is working with a supplier that has a proven adoption strategy that you can integrate into your internal effort. Working with suppliers that can deliver on your expectations while rolling out a digital platform can help keep each phase running smoothly, which can lead to strong adoption rates among your customer base.
Transitioning your customers to a predominantly digital billing payment option takes time and should be carried out in phases. But the benefits can range from cost-reductions in producing and mailing traditional bills and statements to enticing customers to sign up for additional products/services which will boost your company’s bottom – and top – lines in the long run.