Ahhh, Valentine’s Day. The Hallmark occasion conveniently nestled between the holiday season, birthdays and anniversaries, ensuring you don’t have to wait too long before coming up with yet another gift idea for your significant other. Contrived, yes, but we go through the motions in the name of love.
In recognition of Valentine’s Day, we wanted to take the opportunity to discuss recurring billing; a payment acceptance method that helps you achieve steady relationships with your customers. Recurring billing is convenient, low-maintenance, and reliable in its ability to automatically debit your customers’ credit cards or bank accounts for ongoing services, such as gym memberships, educational fees, or medical payment plans.
Through recurring billing, you can minimize the “we need to talk”-type interactions with your customers concerning payments, and build upon the positive aspects of your relationships. Ready to go steady? Here’s how to get started with recurring billing in a few steps:
Assess the fit for recurring billing services.
Four questions to ask yourself:
- Do you offer a service with monthly fees?
- Do you give your customers the option to set up payment plans?
- Do you offer a subscription-based product or service?
- Do you send invoices to the same customers or clients on an ongoing basis?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, your business is probably a good candidate for an automated, recurring billing solution. Not only would adopting such a solution save you time in collecting payments from the same customers each billing cycle, but it would also relieve some of the headache your customers endure by manually submitting payments.
Pick a solution.
There are a handful of web-based solutions available to manage your recurring billing needs, but few (if any) are one-size-fits-all. Here are some things to consider when picking a solution:
- Communication: What type of notifications can I set up for myself and my customers (such as upcoming credit card expirations)?
- Payment types: Do I need ACH (direct debit) and credit card payment options?
- Fees: How much does the solution cost? What about payment processing fees?
- Functionality: Can I dictate start and end dates for the recurring payment schedule?
- Flexibility: Does my business have specific requirements, such as the need for a custom first payment in a billing schedule?
- Versatility: Do I also need the ability to send recurring email invoices?
- Tracking and Reporting: How much visibility do I want into my billing schedules? Will I be tracking upcoming, settled, and past-due payments, or do I plan to set it and forget it?
Roll it out to your customers.
With a solution in hand, you can tell your customers the good news and offer to opt them into your recurring billing program. Almost everyone has dealt with automatic payment programs in the past, so it shouldn’t be anything new. If they’re resistant to change from your old billing methods, however, remind them of the time and energy they’ll save by not having to remember and mail their bills each month. Keep in mind that customers who choose to pay via automated credit card debits must also provide authorization to be charged on an ongoing basis. Keep those authorizations organized under lock-and-key to maintain PCI compliance (it’s recommended to secure authorization for ACH payments as well).
The benefits of adopting recurring billing services for your business are aplenty, and doing so can go a long way in growing relationships with your customers. No one likes to talk about bills, so use automation to move the payment piece to the background so you and your customers can focus on the parts of your relationship that brought you together in the first place.
Learn more about PaySimple’s recurring billing for your business.