Have you ever gone through the process of trying to buy a service or product online and not been able to work out how to pay? It’s something that makes steam come out of my ears, so when I saw the following post by Chris Blunt of Broken Stones I was quite relieved to learn that it wasn’t just me being a cantankerous misery and that lots of other people are having the same frustrations too! Here’s what Chris had to say...
I'm getting really frustrated with this, it should be the simplest thing in the world, but have you thought just how difficult you have made it for me to pay you?
It always astounds me just how many barriers some people put in place for me to pay them money, and it’s not a sport reserved for the smaller companies either, one or two of my largest suppliers seem to go out of their way to make it difficult for me to pay them…
First off they don’t send invoices, they put them on to an on-line platform... but they don’t tell you they've put them there… then the password is some hugely complex one, that needs changing every month… when you finally do get logged in, you have to go through about seven menus to actually find the button to view your invoices – it’s is a right faff…
Then you find they only accept BACS payments, no Card, no direct debit, just BACS… it really does feel like they are doing whatever they can to make it difficult to pay them…
They have nearly lost me three times as a customer because of it. Solely because how much of a pain it is to pay them. I have looked round at other suppliers… and I've shifted business away from them because of it… but unfortunately there are key parts which they do very, very well, that’s of benefit to my customers, so I'm stuck with them… for now…
Over the years I've introduced numerous ways for people to pay us, yes it makes my back end admin a bit more complicated, but every time I've done it, sales have gone up and people have paid me quicker. Currently we accept the following payment methods:
- Direct Debit
- Debit Card
- Credit Card
- American Express
Every invoice we send out has a ‘Pay Now’ Button on, Every Statement has the same ‘Pay Now’ Button… The Quotes we send have our bank details on, and if you accept it online you’re given the option to pay by card right there and then… We’ve also got a mobile card machine so we can take payments in person at the office or at a show.
Sure, it costs me a little bit more when someone pays via card, but weigh that up against the time saving of someone sending statements and chasing payment…
Stop and think about how many barriers you are putting in your customers’ way to do business with you.
- Do you include your bank details on quotes, invoices & statements,
- Is there a “Pay Now” link on your correspondence? (It’s always frustrating to get an email requesting payment, but then no bank details attached and no way to just pay it!!)
The longer the time gap you have between someone deciding to do business with you and them paying you, the more time they have to change their minds again!
What we use
- Go Cardless for direct debit (it integrates nicely with our accounting system AND lets me set up fixed monthly payments too)
- Sage Pay for online card payments & ‘Pay Now’ Button (it integrates seamlessly with Sage)
- WorldPay for our card machine & merchant account… Dead easy to setup, and preferential rates if you’re an FSB member
If you need help integrating any of that with your quoting and invoice systems let me know, we’ve helped quite a few people over the years… It’s a nice feeling when someone accepts your quote AND pays you at the same time…
Chris has a thriving IT business offering a whole range of services. You can contact him on 01543 241 204 or at http://brokenstones.co.uk and sign up for his weekly email with lots of great IT tips to help run a better business.
Here at CWA we work a similar system to Chris and new clients can go from initial consultation to accepting a quote, signing a contract and making payment online at the click of a few buttons and within a couple of hours. It’s the future!
So, how difficult do you make it for your customers to pay you? Are you at risk of losing business because your clients and potential clients find it difficult to pay you?
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