News across the internet has been filled with headlines like “Online payment option coming soon for Otsego residents” and “Catalyst Medical Center to offer Online Bill Payment Option…” Businesses and municipalities are responding to requests from their customers for an option to pay their bills, invoices, and taxes online. One question decision makers ask is “Do these requests represent the majority or the minority?”
It is definitely the majority,and that can mean significant increases in the number of on-time payments and decreases in the cost of sending traditional paper invoices. Savings grow as the number of customers paying online raises. Here are some ideas to increase adoption of electronic billing and payment:
- Communicate with your customers. Let them know they now have a new option for payment. You can do this with a press release, postcard, phone call, etc. or any way that is effective and appropriate for your business.
- Offer an incentive to sign up. AT&T is offering to plant a tree on your behalf when you enroll in paperless billing. You could simply offer a small credit on their account, a t-shirt, a mug, or a donation in their name to a local charity.
- Charge a printing fee for non-adopters. Not as popular with customers, but saving $1-$5 is effective motivation.
- Describe the benefits to your customers about paying electronically. Save a trip to the post office, a stamp and a check. Also mention the safety and security.
- Host a short training session for your customers to show them how to pay online.
- Encourage your new customers to use online payment options.
- Ask customers who are not using the electronic option if they are interested.
- Include a form with their bill or statement for simple enrollment.
- Have a contest. One lucky online paying customer can win a prize like cash or a new car (yes, that is a real example). Don’t forget to set a timeline for the contest.
- Set a date that you will no longer accept physically mailed payments. By only allowing online payments, you will increase your adoption.
Those are just some things you can do. If you chose only one, the most important is to communicate the option to your clients. If they don’t know they can pay online, they won’t pay online. What’s your idea for increasing the number of customers who pay online? Submit it in the comments! Or you can tweet it to us @_SmartPay_
Not sure how to get your customers on board? See what two SmartPay users did to get customers to adopt their online billing option by downloading our white paper.