By Barnard Crespi , Datatel Communications, Inc.
Today’s consumers expect to be able to buy and receive services when it is convenient for them. Consumers want to do business on their terms and in their own time. This has driven businesses to offer 24/7 online customer service, around-the-clock telephone customer service, or, at the very least, remain open for extended business hours. Industry leaders adapt to customer expectations and do everything in their power to engage customers when the customer is ready.
Customers want this same flexibility, convenience, and experience when it comes to paying a bill. Collecting payments is of equal importance to a business as delivering the service. The longer a bill remains unpaid, the higher the collection cost to the organization. Without processes in place to meet customers’ expectations with regards to bill payment, leads to longer payment cycles and higher operational costs.
The 2017 American Express Digital Payments Survey shows that 73% of consumers surveyed have made three or more online purchases in the 12 months before June 2017. This is bolstered by additional studies that suggest that over 20% of bill payments are made over the telephone (when paying by phone is offered). Furthermore, in the healthcare industry, a recent study showed that 39% of patients that chose to make payments over the phone did so after hours and on weekends.
Key to an optimized bill payment processing strategy is having all the payment channels in place to meet consumer expectations. This means having the tools to process payments 24/7 online and over the telephone.
Enabling 24/7 telephone payments does not mean having agents available at all hours of the day, as this would be cost prohibited for many businesses. However, automated Pay-By-Phone (IVR Payments), can help businesses to meet the growing consumer expectation of 24/7 service, increase payment activity, reduce payment delays, and keep operational costs in check.
To meet ever-changing consumer expectations, it’s important to have an omni-channel payment strategy that leverages automation to meet consumer demands, optimizes business processes, and reduces costs while increasing customer satisfaction.