When it comes to estimates and invoicing, you won’t want to be without payment portals. They're digital gateways to massively improving the customer experience.
“But,” I hear you begin to ask, “what’s the actual rhyme and reason for a payment portal?” Well, that’s a good question and one we’ll answer in more detail below!
There are many great reasons as to what good a portal serves and why they benefit your business, as well as your customers. If improved cash-flow, increased customer satisfaction, and easier accounting all sound ideal to you, then you should definitely read on! Below, we’ve covered the What and Why to provide all the insight you need.
If you hang about until the end of the article, you can download your free Practical Guide to Invoicing: with advice and examples that're designed to help you prepare and send invoices that customers will pay, why would you want to miss out?
Let’s dive in:
- What is so good about a digital payment portal?
- Why is a digital payment portal so helpful?
- A Practical Guide to Invoicing
What is so good about a digital payment portal?
The right invoice is always sent to the right customer
There’s nothing worse than sending the wrong email, text, or calling the wrong number, and that’s especially true when it comes to handling sensitive information, like customer finances. The thing is, these mistakes are far more likely to occur if you’re manually inputting information, which is just the first of many reasons why you should want to go digital.
However, feed the customer information into your digital database just once, and not only can you update details quickly if you need to—but you can benefit from auto-fill features that speed up the process of providing estimates, invoices, and more, all whilst keeping data accurate and specific to a particular customer. That means not only does the right customer get the right information, but it’s delivered quickly for peace of mind across all fronts.
You make it easy to pay in one place
With a payment portal, you can really narrow down the way customers can pay for the services you’ve provided. Narrowing down where they go to pay doesn’t mean limiting the options, but making the way more straightforward with a lot less faff. With a payment portal, you’re making it easier for them to pay in the way that’s most convenient, by debit or credit card, and this can be accessed by mobile, laptop, tablet, etc. What you do by using a payment portal is open yourself up to easier mobile payment processing.
Integrations with your accounting package
Taking your payments online is all about creating cohesion. You don’t want to only be partially digital: you want to be all-in, otherwise you’re creating more work for yourself.
What you need to do is make sure your payment process is integrated, which means linking your job management software, and your accounting package, (like Sage or QuickBooks). Keeping payment portals in the loop is an essential part of this.
With your job management software helping you to establish a single customer view, you can generate invoices to send to customers (as discussed), but when they pay, you want to make sure it’s all being tracked and logged automatically.
So you need a software (like Commusoft) that can integrate straight into your accounting software so that invoices are processed instantly and helping your business to stay on top of your finances. So if a customer pays via an online portal, it goes straight to your database, and to your accounting software.
Why is a digital payment portal so helpful?
Customers are more likely to pay on time
How much do you love convenience? I’m willing to bet that it’s a lot. Whether it’s live news updates to our phones, self-scan check-outs at the supermarket, or ordering clothes online instead of shopping on the high-street: the way customers interact with businesses has changed.
It almost goes without saying that many of us take this level of convenience for granted and that, in fact, convenience (in all sorts of ways) is an expectation these days. So, if you’re focusing on convenience for your customers, it means you need to think about how to get things done faster.
Digital payment portals provide a clear, easy, secure way for customers to pay quickly, no matter where they are. If that’s the case and they’re given that peace of mind, then they’ll pay faster: the less red-tape and speed-bumps, the better.
Customers can clearly see how much and what they’re paying for
Itemised lists are great, especially when we can see them clearly. The great thing with an invoice portal, particularly for jobs that might be lasting a little longer than expected, or perhaps that end up using more parts than expected can be updated and amended easily, without the need for wasting paper or sending post for a customer to review.
Have you recently updated an invoice? A quick notification email can be automatically sent to a customer and prompt them to review. If it’s a final invoice, you can include a link for them to make a payment, or simply have the list there for them to review for their records. This keeps them informed, happy and contented.
Doesn’t that sound more appealing than anxiously having to wait for billing information?
Customers are given total transparency
With that in mind, being able to see information displayed in clear black and white, especially on a mobile device, means customers can respond faster and if they (or you) notice a problem, it's easy to raise a query.
With a payment portal, you can set up options for customers to approve and pay, but if they can see your contact information, they can take steps to contact you, or simply reply quickly via an email. Whether you include additional contact information if up to you (like a phone number) but if it can all be done with a simple click, it’s far more convenient and leads to a far better experience because you've taken the right step to streamline the customer journey.
If you’re looking at other ways to improve the customer experience, you might want to consider implementing an after-sales care portal that let’s customers provide feedback. After all, not everyone likes to make a phone call these days, and we can’t deny the convenience of a few button presses so that we can make contact in a way that suits us, but also quickly resolve a problem.
Your cash flow will improve considerably
Managing cash flow can be a complicated business, especially if you’re still fumbling around with paper files that you need to photograph, scan in, email over...it’s already getting to be a bit of a mess and that problem won’t go away as your company continues to grow and expand: it’ll get worse if you don’t do something about it sooner, rather than later.
By streamlining the way you not only see customer’s payment information and processing but the way your customers can pay you in return, you make it far more likely that your cash will flow through your company in a way that not only easy to track but arrives swiftly.
That means waiting around, paying for parts, and so much more becomes infinitely easier to manage; after all, the last thing you want to be doing is stressing about your bottom line when keeping on top of it is not technically easier than ever before.
Now you know the what and why of invoicing, why not consider checking out the how and when? By that, I mean you should check out the fantastic free guide that we’ve prepared. It’s designed to help you to get the most out of your invoices with visual examples and practical advice.
You can download yours for free, below, and discover: the four best practices for invoicing, how to optimise your invoice workflow, and so much more besides. Enjoy and happy invoicing!
Do you think we missed out on anything? Don't hesitate to reach out on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.