Make it easy for customers to pay early. Incentives not extra work.

When running a business your main goal is to collect payment from your customers. Everything you do is motivated by revenue in some way. Your mission for payment should always be “If a customer is trying to pay me, let me make it quick and easy.” That seems pretty straight forward right?

This morning I called the Hard Rock Resort in Orlando, Florida. I wanted to pay off the remaining balance on my upcoming vacation. Little did I know that after speaking with someone it would take up to 24 hours to send an email with instructions. Inside the email is a form. It asks me to scan my driver’s license, front and back of the credit card, fill out a full page form and then fax it back. Do you see a problem in this payment model? I do.

Instead of rewarding customers that want to pay early they make it difficult for them. Requiring the customers to take extra initiative to read, scan, fill out, sign and fax documents. That seems to directly conflict with customer satisfaction. We pay you to do that work for us. Just take our credit card information.

If a current client, one that already made the upfront payment on the contract, contacted you expressing interest in paying their invoice before it was due would you make them jump through more hoops? A discount seems much more appropriate. But even without that gesture wouldn’t you want to simply say ok?

If your business has an online ecommerce store front,
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to you know very well how additional steps kill your revenue. Spyre Studios published a great article on more usable ecommerce. These customers have cash in hand and want to pay you now. Let them do it and remember that they will also be happy if you give them discounts, customers are always looking through websites like Raise in order to find the best deals. Don’t make them sign up for an account, verify their contact information and then read lengthy rules for doing business with you. It doesn’t happen at brick and mortar stores. It doesn’t happen at restaurants. It shouldn’t happen online or over the phone either.

What steps do you take with your business to ensure customer satisfaction during payment? Do you provide discounts for prompt payment as a reward or only charge a late fee? Encouraging the behavior you want can result in vast improvements in quality of business.

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  1. StevenJBarkerReplyOctober 13, 2010 at 9:47 pm 

    If you’re going to keep your payment complicated you better believe that your customer REALLY wants your product. We will stand in a line at a retailer because we have no other real option (that’s convenient that is). We’ve got options online.Plus, a good payment experience adds to the overall experience and impression of your brand. If you make my life easier I like that…and I’ll be back. But make me sign up for your newsletter, now have to remember and confirm a new password and set up a profile for my cat before I pay and I’m not going to have a good taste in my mouth. Bad first impression.

    • Joshua GarityReplyOctober 14, 2010 at 4:58 pm 

      Agree completely. If you are emotionally attached to a product, company or service you will wade through the bad experiences to get what you want.

      If you look at how payment gateways are evolving right now you will see more impulsive emotional connection being factored in. Text to donate. Use hashtags to donate. Scan this QR code to donate. Credit cards, fast passes, etc. Everything is based on fast transactions. Because once you give the customer more time to weigh their options it will more than likely result in dropped revenue.

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