Happy New Year! 2023 is in full swing and, if you’re anything like us, you may have taken some time to reflect on your personal goals for the year – but what about your billing and payments resolutions? Have you considered how you might make your daily collection-related tasks easier or more efficient?
If you need a place to get started, here are a few payment resolutions to consider based on the preferences and pain points shared by 2,100 bill payers nationwide, which we’ve collected and analyzed in our annual State of Online Payments research report.
Resolution 1: Make it easy to find and enroll in self-service options
As a result of the rapid digitization of the last few years, self-service is on the rise for bill payments. The State of Online Payments survey found automatic payment (AutoPay) enrollment, for example, has climbed by 5% since the 2021 report. Considering that the “set it and forget it” nature of this payment channel offers maximum peace of mind and minimal friction for the bill payer, it makes sense that this convenient option would be gaining popularity among today’s customers.
This is fantastic news for billing organizations like yours: the desire to enroll in and use self-service options is alive and well! And the most important thing your team can do is encourage these positive behaviors by making these routes easy to find and sign up for.
Take a look through your website or payment page – is it obvious where to sign up for AutoPay or other options, like pay by text? Is the enrollment process simple and quick? Identify areas of friction and make it your 2023 mission to clear your customers’ path to self-service.
Resolution 2: Leverage flyers, QR codes, and other frictionless options in your office
Although online and mobile payment options are the most popular and most preferred by respondents, in-person payments saw a slight uptick in 2022.
The difference in usage between digital and in-person channels are still vast, however; the State of Online Payments survey found that, in the last year, 67% and 63% of respondents nationwide have used a mobile device or an online portal to pay a bill, respectively, whereas only 23% brought a payment to a biller.
After the isolation brought on by the pandemic, it’s no surprise in-person payments are up a few percentage points from the previous two years. But that doesn’t mean you can’t remove friction from the in-person payment experience!
To encourage self-service even among these customers, take advantage of your office space. Empower your staff to enroll walk-ins in options like AutoPay and pay by text. Hang flyers advertising digital payment options with QR codes that lead customers directly to payment screens. Provide kiosks in your lobby that will accept bill payment without customers encountering your staff. These are just a few ways InvoiceCloud empowers its billers to drive digital payment adoption right in their office.
Resolution 3: Offer an easy way for CSRs to assist customers without interrupting self-service
We asked bill payers about their preferences — but we also wanted to understand the common issues facing respondents when it comes to paying bills digitally.
Data security, lagging payment processing, and a lack of payment reminders all ranked high, but respondents’ #1 issue overall was the inability to contact the customer service teams of their billers. Not only does this challenge pose a threat to customer satisfaction, it can even discourage the self-service behaviors that keep your internal efficiencies running smoothly.
There are a few ways to approach the challenge of hard-to-reach customer service representatives or an understaffed customer service team.
First and foremost, billing organizations can eliminate countless phone calls and office visits by removing friction from the payment process. If it’s easy to ascertain how to, say, sign up for AutoPay or make a payment online, your team can reduce call volumes and focus on helping customers with more paramount concerns.
For folks that are trying to self-serve and are struggling, it’s critical to offer easy access to CSRs without disrupting the customer self-service process, which is why InvoiceCloud’s AgentConnect allows CSRs to do just that. Through this functionality, CSRs can remotely act on behalf of customers to assist with making payments, changing account settings, or even sending customers direct payment links via text or email for expedited payments. Best of all, this functionality provides the opportunity to enroll customers in services like AutoPay, paperless billing, or auto-renewal, to reduce future call volumes.
Set your team up for a successful 2023
Keep your payment strategies aligned with the preferences of today’s bill payer with InvoiceCloud’s State of Online Payments report for 2023. Get your free copy of the report below.