How To Streamline Your Payment Flows: 6 Tips For SMBs

Many small and medium-sized businesses struggle with payments. Tasks like sending invoices, setting up subscriptions, automating reminders, and so on, seem relatively simple. But company owners and managers often feel overwhelmed when it comes to setting up a comprehensive and efficient tech stack to deal with these routine jobs. This results in significant amounts of lost revenue. Customers leave during checkout and don’t return. With streamlined payment solutions, you can fix cart abandonment issues across your business. Yet in the vast majority of cases, a few simple changes will lead to streamlined and effective payment workflows that keep “drop-off” to a minimum, while prompting customers to pay on time. If managing payments gives you a headache, don’t worry. In this post, you’ll learn six practical tips to boost the effectiveness of your whole workflow.

Use Payment Management Software

If you only take one thing from this whole post, make it this: use payment management software. Payment management apps provide you with a host of easy-to-use tools that will make practically every aspect of your payment workflows more efficient and straightforward, from connecting with third-party payment processors to automating reminders for subscription customers. A software for online invoice payment processing and an online client portal enable you to complete routine tasks in a fraction of the time they usually take. What’s more, most apps work on a monthly subscription model and are relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to the time and resources most businesses will save.

Create Templates for Invoices and Receipts

Virtually all companies, whether operating in the B2C or B2B spaces, send invoices and receipts on a regular basis. The process of creating invoices, which involves writing line-by-line item costs and inputting client details (name, address, email, etc.) is laborious. And employee time spent on creating invoices can quickly add up. Using templates for invoices and receipts is one easy way to cut down on invoice generation time. With pre-generated templates, you can easily stay on top of your invoices. But don’t stop there. With the right software, it’s possible to auto-generate invoices. Information about customers and their orders stored in your CRM and accounting software will automatically populate in the relevant feeds. All that’s left for your accounting department to do is double-check the details and hit send.

Automate Payment Reminders

After you’ve sent an invoice to a customer, that should be the end of the story, right? If only it were that easy. In the vast majority of cases, most customers aren’t purposefully ignoring payment deadlines. They’ve simply forgotten. That’s why it’s important to send reminders, both in the run-up to the final payment date and afterwards. Usually, a straightforward email informing the recipient in question that their payment is due or overdue is all that’s required. Fortunately, payment reminders are very easy to automate. When you send an invoice through your app, it should be possible to schedule follow-up emails at preset intervals.

Provide an Online Portal for Your Clients

Many small and medium-sized businesses process payments directly, taking customer card details over the phone. Digital portals serve as online payment solutions for your clients. And even for those companies that do offer an online form, it’s usually completely separate from other parts of the booking and rescheduling process. Both of these approaches waste significant amounts of time. But what’s the solution? Online portals are dedicated member areas for your customers. After a user has created an account, they can complete a range of tasks without any input on your part. These include making payments, setting up subscriptions, rescheduling appointments, submitting questions, and more. Furthermore, offering a portal to your customers needn’t be a complex technical task. Apps that integrate with existing websites are inexpensive and easy-to-use

Sync Your Tech Stack With Your Accounting App

Businesses that are serious about saving time and resources should build fully integrated tech stacks. When your apps “talk to each other”, it relieves you of the burden of manually inputting data across different platforms. This is particularly the case with your accounting and payment apps. When information about client orders flows seamlessly between your apps for invoicing management, bookkeeping, CRM (customer relationship management), and so on, it’s possible to complete tasks like sending receipts and updating invoice statuses much faster. Syncing apps is usually a straightforward process, without the need to rely on APIs and custom development. And even if your current software doesn’t have built-in integrations, third party automation tools like Zapier are available.

Offer Outsourced Customer Support

Running an in-house customer support team isn’t a viable option for most small businesses. Customer service outsourcing is becoming more and more popular for modern small businesses. Unfortunately, this means that help is only available during set hours, and sometimes not even then if all members of staff are busy. This can lead to dissatisfied clients, especially if they can’t receive the support they need when making a payment. An easy way to overcome this problem is to leverage outsourced customer support. Calls will be directed to a team that is familiar with the issues your customers encounter and can help them straight away, often twenty-four hours a day.

Once a customer has decided to make a payment, it should be money in the bank from a business perspective. Logistical issues, however, are one of the biggest conversion killers in the game. If a client drops out of your funnel because they can’t figure out how to make a payment, can’t reach support, or simply forget about an invoice, there’s a strong chance they’ll never return. Don’t lose clients to poorly-structured and inefficient payment flows. By spending a little time improving your payments infrastructure and sealing up the “leaky” parts of the bottom of your funnel, you’ll reclaim any lost revenue. And your customers will be happier too.

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