Eversince money took on a digital form, there has been a massive shift in payments to online channels. Global payments revenues hit $1.9 billion at the end of 2020 , and are expected to rise more as people quickly adapt to new finance technology. And as online payments grow, so do digital billing and accounting trends.
One of the things that companies, especially businesses in the tech services sphere, are trying to figure out now is how to implement recurring payment cycles. There’s always the option to do it manually and send it over to clients, but that could potentially lead to more work for employees and a bigger chance of human error and accruing accounts receivables.
One efficient alternative is to start implementing recurring billing operations, but businesses should be aware of the best practices around this rising technology to make the most of it.
Online Billing and Recurring Payments Best Practices.
When choosing the best recurring payment system for your business, try following these habits of businesses who successfully set up recurring billing operations.
- Utilize a billing software that suits your needs
- Create templates
- Capitalize on artificial intelligence
- Focus on customer experience
- Provide customer support
- Best time to start is now
1. Utilize a billing software that suits your needs
The first key to successfully setting up a recurring billing system is to choose a Recurring Billing Software that meets your needs. Not all software are alike and it might take a fair amount of research to find the one that works best for your set up. Consider factors like the size of the monthly payments, cycle of payments, number of people you bill at one time, payment options for your customers, and so on.
The effect of COVID-19 on online payments is here to stay long after the pandemic is over, so it’s unlikely that software will go to waste for the foreseeable future. Think of it as an investment and try to set aside a budget to pay for premium services.
2. Create templates
The goal of any business when it comes to billing is to template and automate as much as possible. This not only reduces the time and effort employees put into preparing billings for customers but also the rate of human error and thus accounts receivables, which cost businesses significant resources to correct and collect.
Using a recurring billing software can help in creating invoice templates, reminders, balance dues, notifications, payment acknowledgments, and so on. The more we can automate, the less it will cost businesses and the more that staff can focus on more high-value tasks.
3. Capitalize on artificial intelligence
On top of templates, another way to save time and energy on recurring billion operations is to utilize artificial intelligence. The rise of AI has brought about job automation risks but has also created opportunities for companies and their teams to become more optimal in their approach to repetitive work. By using automations via computer learning, businesses can put more manpower into more high-level and human-oriented practices such as sales, investigation, interpretation, systems improvement, and so on.
With artificial intelligence, billing departments can automatically create invoices, turn documents into validated data for analysis, verify payments, monitor for billing errors, flag questionable accounts, and so on.
3. Focus on customer experience
By 2022, 53% of all software revenue will come from a subscription model. The rise of this trend mainly has to do with the fact that more customers are starting to prefer this type of payment method. You think of how services like Netflix, Canva, and Apple Music have revolutionized industries with these models and it’s hard to miss the importance of customer experience.
Learning how to set up recurring payments for customers is only half the battle. The other half is to figure out how to make it intuitive for your customers. Most subscriptions will take care of most of that for you, but it also pays to go the extra mile by taking extra steps to improve customer experience such as making your copies friendly to read or launching a knowledge hub with tutorial videos on how to settle payments online or interpret billings. Never assume that technology is simple enough. You have to think that some of your clients might need more support than deemed necessary.
4. Provide customer support
No matter how much we automate and template, we always have to be ready for a slight margin of error. Billing issues can arise even with technology in place. SOme examples of billing issues might include surcharges, missed payment crediting, and so on.
Implementing a recurring payment model for small businesses doesn’t really remove error altogether, but it does minimize it. Thankfully, now that billing departments have all that saved time from having to manually create billing statements, they now have time to deal with billing errors when they do arise. This calls for a more customer service-oriented approach to billing. Provide a specific channel for billing concerns when possible and open up a portal to report billing contests.
5. Best time to start is now
Up to 70% of business leaders say adopting a subscription business model will be a key strategy in the coming years. And with that rise will come a greater emphasis on recurring billing software to help smoothen billing operations. If you’re looking to automate your recurring billing process, the best time to start is now.