“Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to make something simple.” – Sir Richard Branson
Customers in any case have a wide range of options now – so many companies offering similar products and price points. Would it not make sense to give customers as many options as possible through your company, such that they would find it hard to leave? A variety of payment options for customers is one retention method. Traditionally, customers usually had just one mode of payment – cash or credit card, when they shopped at a store or local shop. With technology taking over, gone are the days of waiting or carrying large quantities of cash or even waiting for payment to get processed. Payment options for customers are now faster and safer than ever before and customers expect to have a choice in this matter. Not offering varying payment options for customers could lead to decreased sales and damage the reputation of your company – your company would appear redundant, rigid, and unwilling to accommodate customer expectations.
It makes great business sense to offer a wide range of payment options for customers – they will reduce wait time, eliminate hassle for customers, and make your company appear more attractive to them. Human nature dictates that whatever one is forced to do – is the thing that people resist the most. If your company puts together a variety of payment options for customers, they would view this as commitment to make things easier for them. Providing different payment options for customers, is beneficial for the company as well – given the ease of payment, customers are more likely to pay faster and sooner than if they had limited options. With smart devices and apps dominating the digital scene, a large number of customers use these methods to operate their business with and payments to a company.
The aim of customer service is to make things easy for customers and a company that claims top class service, should translate the claims to action. Providing a variety of payment options for customers is just one way. A company must demonstrate its understanding of each individual customer – the time they need to pay, the timelines of payment, pending payment amounts and other such aspects – before presenting them with payment options. This lends a feel of personalization that works wonders to any customer-company relationship. Customers must also remain aware of the problems your company may face in setting up a different payment option for them, in order for them to appreciate your commitment. Ensure that when signing a business agreement, the kinds of payment options for customers are mentioned clearly and customers choose a method, which they could change if the need arises in the future.
Putting together a number of payment options for customers and ensuring that everything is written down, safeguards the interests of the company too. It is a company’s right to receive their dues and by offering varied payment options for customers, your company ensures that customers are able to pay conveniently during each cycle. If customers are unable to pay immediately, or need to pay in parts, it would behove your company to provide them with easy and realistic payment options to make it convenient for them.
Financial matters can often get complicated and become the cause for a break in the customer-company association. It is therefore, essential to ensure a proper process before finalizing on payment options for customers. Companies must make a background check of the customer’s payment history to understand their preferred method and cycle of making payments. Based on this information a company could suggest a few payment options and once the customer agrees to an option, put in down in writing and have both parties sign the agreement. What are some of the payment options for customers that your company uses? Are they working to everyone’s advantage?
The most obvious, oft used and oldest form of buying is through cash. While this method of payment is fast, it has its share of limitations. One cannot make purchases with cash when buying online and hence companies with online businesses cannot offer this as a payment option. Only accepting cash at your stores is not a good option either – there are times when people may fall short of the required amount and may feel embarrassed if they do not have sufficient. Also now, people prefer to carry less cash and would rather opt to use one of the many other payment options for customers.
Check payments are still an option but research reveals that it is not a popular option as only about 7% of transactions happen through this method. Check fraud, bounce and other such problems make this option unpopular. If your company offers checks as one of the payment options for customers, ensure that you have stringent procedures relating to the kind of checks you would accept – for example, it is not a good idea to accept outstation checks as they take too long to clear and the hassle of dealing with problems with such checks are many. Ensure that customers are aware of the policies regarding late payments and bounced checks – they should be prepared to have collection agents follow up with them in the event of delayed or dishonoured payments.
Online ‘wallets’ and PayPal are perhaps the most flexible and easy modes of payment. Companies usually charge the 2% fee that comes with such payments to their customers but given the ease of operation and reach of these payment options, customers willingly pay. Other options like Bitcoin are also available as payment options for customers. Ensure however, that customers are aware of the policies and procedures for using these payment options and that your company strictly adheres to them. While making business easy for customers, it would be prudent for a company to protect its own interests as well – ensure complete transparency in payment processes and allow customers to make their decisions and seal them in writing.
All now commonly use credit cards, once considered a luxury of the rich, and most customers willingly put in their credit card details when shopping online. Credit cards are probably the most widely used of the payment options for customers and hence it is the responsibility of a company to ensure that they provide safe and secure transactions. With hacking, identity, and account thefts becoming more pronounced, it is crucial that companies maintain all the safety checks when accepting credit card payments. Companies could find themselves in complicated litigations if they fail to protect the vital personal data of customers.
Transferring payments from the customer’s bank account to that of the company’s account is one of the easier payment options for customers. Here too, the company must ensure that it provides a safe and secure connection to the customers to conduct the bank transfers. The good part about this mode of payment is that a customer can issue a standing instruction to their bank, depending on the payment cycle. This is a one-time activity, post which, payments continue as scheduled without additional effort for the company or the customer.
It would be beneficial for a company to provide varied payment options for customers – a survey revealed that at least 48% shoppers want more than one payment options. 61% people that shop online prefer to shop at companies that offer both credit or debit card payments and about 55% customers, first check on payment options before they actually make a purchase. It is obvious then that if a company does not provide payment options for customers, they are quite likely to lose a large percentage of business. Stay relevant for customers by offering them what they want – myriad payment options included, because the success of your company depends on this.