As a global telecoms business, your job is to implement solutions to help your customers streamline their systems and boost their bottom line.
If you’re not doing the same across all aspects of your own business, you’re missing a trick.
You’ve got your broadband, phone and cloud technology nailed but what about the way you take regular payments from customers?
If your billing process is still in the dark ages, it’s time to tackle your tired techniques head-on.
Here we explore how Direct Debit can revolutionise how you collect client cash and supercharge your own systems while at the same time you focus on your clients.
How Do You Currently Collect Payments?
If you’ve not yet discovered the benefits of Direct Debit, it’s likely you’re relying on either Standing Orders or card payments.
Both these options have serious drawbacks: Standing Orders are inflexible and keep the customer in control while debit and credit cards can expire or fail due to lack of funds, plus they rely on the client remembering to pay you.
Their unreliability can lead to unexpected problems: failed payments, late payments and inaccurate payments. All of these contribute to a cashflow headache that costs you time, money and hassle to rectify.
Meanwhile your credit control team is left with an endless list of repetitive admin tasks as they reconcile different payment methods, chase late payees and battle to reduce potential churn.
How Direct Debit Can Ease the Billing Process Burden
Direct Debit can be your saviour here. It’s flexible, reliable and secure, bringing predictability to payments and certainty to your cashflow.
By replacing traditional methods of processing payments, it uses the latest in hard-working payment tech to automate and ameliorate. You’re paid on time, every time.
Here’s how it makes such a difference:
1. Partner with the Experts
Accepting Direct Debit payments is simple if you outsource to a specialist bureau such as FastPay. Traditionally only large corporations could collect Direct Debits by working with their bank but now the door is open to everybody.
Direct Debit bureaux can radically simplify your billing process by managing the collection and processing of payments on your behalf. The days of chasing overdue payments, asking clients to update their credit card or Standing Order details and cashing cheques will be over.
Sign up to their services and client payments will be taken care of for you. You’ll receive expert advice about setting up and ongoing support as your partnership develops.
The costs charged by bureau – which can be as low as 3p per transaction – will be quickly recouped by a dramatic reduction in admin hours.
2. Automation for Accuracy
Just as your global telecoms business automates communications processes for your clients, so Direct Debit can do the same for you.
Payment tech is revolutionising the way businesses and their customers exchange cash and you can’t afford to be left behind on the technological trajectory.
Offering Direct Debit as the only payment option makes it easy for you and for them. By automating the process, they don’t have to remember to pay you each month as funds are automatically taken from their account.
This highly efficient method allows you to remain in control as you can alter the date or amount of each collection, provided you’ve informed your client in advance. No need to wait for them to change a Standing Order or call up to make a credit card payment.
Instead, the ball is in your court, and you’ll know exactly what amount to expect and when: unbeatable flexibility and certainty for you, less hassle for them.
In the telecoms business this is an especially useful benefit when it comes to subscriptions. You can easily increase the value of the Direct Debit when you decide to increase subscription rates. Equally, if a client wants to either upgrade or downgrade, they can do this quickly with no paperwork. They simply inform you, you amend their Direct Debit and service continues uninterrupted.
Also, if their usage rates fluctuate, you can arrange for a varying amount to be taken from their account.
The long list of benefits that Direct Debit brings will significantly decrease the cost per sale for each of your clients. You’re not only collecting more money but saving more too.
3. Say Hello to Regular Reporting
Once you’re set up with a Direct Debit bureau, you’ll receive regular reports about the status of all client payments: real-time updates direct to your inbox to ensure you’re always up-to-date.
You’ll be sent swift, automatic notifications about any problematic payments including failures, bounces and cancellations. These allow you to resolve issues efficiently, improving customer relations and protecting your cashflow.
4. Crush Cashflow Challenges
Direct Debit’s reliability will have an impressive impact on your ability to forecast accurately and predict cashflow.
You have the reassurance that cash will appear in your account on a specific day as subscription payments are regularly and reliably paid.
And the reports of the comings and goings of your account will give you a clear overview of any outstanding debt and enable you to factor this in to your planning. And because using Direct Debit greatly reduces the chances of late payments, your debtors’ list will be shorter and more manageable.
The result? Less admin hassle for your team, increased financial security for your business and fewer awkward conversations with customers.
5. Initiate Integration
Direct Debit will further streamline your billing process by its capacity to integrate with your existing, or new, software.
Switching to a Direct Debit Solution results in straightforward, automatic reconciliation thanks to clever technology. You can link an online payment gateway to your in-house accounts system and then to your bureau’s software.
With these seamless connections in place, cash flows effortlessly, data entry mistakes are minimised, time efficiencies are turbo-charged and manually keying in information is gone for good.
Integrating with APIs and platforms such as Xero will unlock the potential of your global telecoms business. You can integrate as much or as little as you like to create the perfect solution for your regular payment needs.
6. Let Your Staff Shine
It’s easy for accounts departments to get bogged down in monotonous detail. This can affect staff in many ways, from morale and job satisfaction to the quality of their work and career progression.
By making Direct Debit the only way for customers to pay, your team will leave behind the nitty-gritty of dealing with multiple payments made by multiple methods.
The reduced number of failed and late payments it leads to will relieve them of the awkward everyday job of chasing tardy payees. Instead they can take a more proactive approach to customer service.
Freed from some of the more tedious aspects of their job, they can focus on tasks that will better serve them and your business such as training, innovation and service improvements.
Armed with clear and up-to-date information, the administrative burden will ease, paperwork demands will decrease and efficiency levels will boom.
7. Cultivate Customer Loyalty
Put simply, Direct Debit builds loyalty.
Your customers will welcome the opportunity to add your invoice to their list of regular Direct Debits. And new prospects will be able to tick off “easy to make payments” from their must-have list when researching potential suppliers.
The efficiency and convenience Direct Debit offers will make them look favourably upon your business as one that wants to make their lives as easy as possible: a big customer satisfaction tick.
With competition all around you, keeping up with them is vital if you want to minimise churn and increase your client base.
Direct Debit’s simplicity also works to reduce possible customer conflict: you’ll no longer have to listen to excuses about why you’ve not been paid or make a delicate phone call to say that you have to suspend your services.
Instead, customers will benefit from an improved service as your accounts team will be free to focus on their individuals’ needs. With many potential payment pain points gone, they can build customer relationships easily and resolve any issues efficiently.
8. Security You Can Depend On
While your bureau concentrates on collecting your clients’ subscription payments, you can be reassured that the system is 100% secure.
The Direct Debit Guarantee has a unique set of safeguards. Its security levels are unrivalled when compared to other forms of payment, making Direct Debit the safest payment method in the UK.
If there’s an error when processing a Direct Debit, your client is entitled to a full and immediate refund from their bank or building society. They also must receive advanced notification of any changes to the amount, date or frequency, and can cancel a Direct Debit at any time.