Digital payments accelerate small business success
A digital payment strategy ranks among the top in business performance
Of the many options small businesses have to improve their business performance, adopting a digital payment strategy ranks among the top in terms of value for both them and their customers.
From automating invoicing and payment collections to managing risk and providing a safe, secure customer experience, digital payment solutions add value, in the post-COVID environment and beyond.
Worldwide consumer demand for contactless payments has skyrocketed and research indicates that nearly one in three U.S. consumers select contactless payments as their preferred method of payment.
The dramatic increase in contactless payments throughout the U.S. economy presents an opportunity for small businesses to not only meet customer demand but to take advantage of the many benefits of adopting digital payment strategies, including providing a safe, secure payment experience for their customers.
Flexible Options Enhance Customer Service
One of the key benefits of digital payments is that they allow small business owners to focus on providing service, not conducting financial transactions. Providing customers with an online payment link, preferably when the service is scheduled, eliminates the need for an employee to collect a check or swipe a credit card. The customer can be assured of contactless service and a secure, encrypted payment transaction. They can have the flexibility of using the payment method they choose with a card on file, credit card or ACH payment. As safety remains a concern following the pandemic, minimizing personal contact with an online or contactless payment mitigates these concerns.
With smartphones in the hands of a majority of consumers, the opportunity to increase revenue through mobile payments can’t be ignored. The ability to sell and buy services and products online, access cash flow reporting, manage customers’ accounts and send invoices from anywhere are some of the key reasons why businesses are increasingly adopting mobile payment applications.
Omni-channel Payments Improve Cash Flow
Streamlining invoicing and billing and adopting an omni-channel payments management solution can accelerate customer payments which enables better cash flow management and reduces collection risk. Payment tracking associated with invoices and received payments provides an accurate view of cash flow, and exactly how many customers have paid, and which customers have an outstanding balance. Particularly for businesses that provide services at monthly, quarterly or other intervals, the ability to set up recurring billing is another benefit.
Some businesses use different payment systems to collect various payment methods and will often have multiple bank accounts correlating to each system. This complexity is reduced by implementing a payment collection system that handles all payment types through one solution and one merchant account. It also enables cash flow records to be streamlined into one system and will likely save costs.
Automation and Self-Service Streamline Business Processes
Digital payment solutions also provide a range of features for automating customer communications functions and can enhance the overall customer experience. They offer company-branded capabilities for scheduled appointment and reminder emails, invoices and additional service options to create a seamless, professional image for the business. By enhancing the business’s processes, attention can be focused on core services, customer service and overall company objectives, instead of company finances.
A customer portal is another benefit of a digital payments that creates greater efficiencies for the business and higher satisfaction for customers. With consumers’ expectations for 24/7/365 online access to information, they can review their payment history and self-service their accounts with updated payment information, contact information and service requests or upgrades, reducing the time employees need to spend on customer communication.
Prior to the pandemic, traditional methods of manual invoicing and collecting checks may have sufficed. However, customers increasingly have higher expectations of what they want their experience to be. Digital payment solutions are scalable so the tools and capabilities can be customized regardless of the size of the business and can grow with the business’ needs. As all types of businesses have transitioned to digital payments since the COVID crisis and it has served to underscore the operational benefits as well as the personal safety issues these solutions present.
Jeff Olson is the Vice President of Customer Experience at PaySimple. He is an accomplished business leader with 10 + years of experience in building, leading and improving operations for customer facing support teams.