Providing a great customer experience is critical for long-term business growth. Studies show increasing your customer retention by just 5 per cent can lead to revenue increases of at least 25 per cent. Providing a range of payment options is a part of customer service that can help your business foster robust and long term customer relationships. And while you may immediately think of offering bank transfers or card payments as sufficient payment options, the right technology will provide an array of other options for your business and its customers.*
This article outlines how to create a better customer experience by providing more payment and better bill presentment options.
Payment platforms provide better integration of technology
Technology has become a core component of business over the last two decades. Although businesses enjoy the efficiency of technologies such as cloud computing and accounting software, a lack of technology integration across businesses still exists. According to Experian’s 2020 Global Data Management Research Report, 98 per cent of the organisations surveyed said that having high-quality data is a critical part of realising their business’s objectives. However, only 24 per cent of these organisations had a strategy to address poor data and the issues it causes. Properly integrating technology across your business is a key part of becoming more strategic with your business systems and processes.
Integrating a payment platform into your business provides a range of functionality. It allows data from different parts of the organisation to be updated in real-time without any manual data entry. Some of the key systems in your business may include:
- A point of sale system
- Service management software
- A payment system which facilitates online payments
- Procurement tools
- Inventory management and warehousing systems
If your customers don’t enjoy a smooth purchasing process or have a range of payment options, they may look for other suppliers. To review and improve your customer experience, you need to analyse the whole customer buying journey and identify areas where people are likely to get frustrated and potentially shop elsewhere. Consider critical parts of the customer journey, including:
- Shopping and payment channels: Can customers browse, order and pay online?
- Contact with the business: Is it easy for customers to contact your business and get a fast response?
- Payment options: Can customers choose from a range of payment methods and time frames, including Buy Now, Pay Later formats?
- Past order data: Can customers access data about their previous orders to optimise their stock levels?
- Data integration and automation: Do you have the infrastructure to analyse and forecast your cash flow and inventory and warehousing needs?
Moving your business to an automated payment platform will create a better customer experience. Platforms like Spenda give businesses the ability to offer customers a range of payment methods and options. Further, addressing the cause of late payments at the start of the customer journey will help to improve your cash flow and reduce the time spent following up late payments and reconciling transactions.
Taking payments: increasing the acceptance of online invoices
Every business wants to make sure they are paid in full as fast as possible. Ultimately, this depends on a customer’s willingness and ability to pay, both of which are subject to their cash flow. With a fully integrated payment platform, your business can offer business to business (B2B) payments digitally and with ease.
A platform that increases the acceptance of online invoices provides a range of benefits to your business and its customers, and it all stems from improved bill presentment. With an intuitive interface, businesses can offer customers:
- More payment options: card payments, bank transfers and third-party financing
- Choices about when they pay: pay in full or split the invoice into instalments that align with the business’s cash flow
Online invoicing and payment platforms help the whole SME ecosystem
Just as late payments have a flow-on effect across the broader economy, the uptake of online invoicing and payment platforms will help to improve cash flow for all SMEs. If, for example, your business uses a fully integrated payment platform and your customers begin using the platform, they will also enjoy the benefits of improved bill presentment and the availability of more payment options. At a glance, these businesses can see all of the invoices they need to pay and when, so they can schedule payments in line with their cash flow.
Moving another step further down the supply chain, when your customers send invoices to their customers using an integrated platform, they also enjoy the same benefits (more ways to pay, improved cash flow and better bill presentment). Providing SMEs in all supply chains with secure and risk-free ways to prioritise and pay invoices online gives business owners greater control and visibility of their cash flow. Ultimately, improved cash flow frees up the capital businesses need to strengthen their financial stability or invest in growth.
The distributor to retailer relationship: Making payments to suppliers
Like other parts of supply chains, wholesalers and distributors want to provide a better customer experience, but it’s taking time for technology to evolve to a point where every B2B transaction can happen safely and efficiently. The two key features that distributors benefit from by using an integrated payment platform are:
- Payment options at checkout: Customers expect a seamless transaction, including having more options on how and when they can pay.
- Secure technology: Sharing credit card details online or over the phone naturally makes shoppers uncomfortable. Spenda’s platform provides a secure payment mechanism by tokenising the collection and exchange of sensitive information. Further, the Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Know Your Customer (KYC) and Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) processes ensures all access and transactions made via Spenda’s platform are authorised and secure.
Before using Spenda
A retailer, which we’ll call Jumping Bean Coffee Roastery, continuously experiences problems with its customers. With a booming roasting business, it distributes its coffee beans to cafes and small retailers across Australia. The business currently has several overdue accounts and orders are delivered late or, sometimes, not at all.
The customers that Jumping Bean Coffee Roastery works with are getting frustrated that it’s difficult to order, often having to call up and order over the phone. Customers rarely receive an electronic record of their order, nor is there any automation or systematisation for people to track their orders.
As a result of customer service issues, orders have slowed down in recent months. The business owner has checked in with some customers to see if they need to purchase more coffee. Customers said the ordering and payment process was too fragmented, unreliable and outdated. Further, without any data about previous orders, Jumping Bean Coffee Roastery’s customers couldn’t optimise their order amounts and timing, while the business was having the same problem with its suppliers. The business needs to make big changes to improve the customer experience and provide more payment options, but the owner feels overwhelmed about where to start.
Better bill presentment and payment options in practice.
Jumping Bean Coffee Roastery now sends invoices and processes all payments online. With an intuitive, functional interface, the business owner can see which invoices are outstanding at a glance. Further, the business’s cash flow is improving as customers now have more options in how and when they pay their invoices. Due to the easy functionality and cash flow benefits, some of the business’s customers have even started using the platform in their business as well. Jumping Bean Coffee Roastery now has much more control over its operations and knows exactly when to expect payments from customers which has helped the business better manage its relationships with its suppliers. With the improved cash flow, the business is considering expanding its coffee roasting facilities.
Spenda: Providing more payment options, better customer experience and revenue growth
Spenda’s suite of tools and products helps businesses properly integrate technology across the board to create a better customer experience. With a platform that provides everything your business needs to get paid faster, you can build a loyal customer base through a seamless buying experience and truly flexible payment options.
Click here to learn how Spenda’s flexible payment features deliver better and more convenient solutions for your customers, enabling you to get paid quicker.