How modern billing solutions improve business and the customer experience

Monday, September 13, 2021

Technology has changed almost every aspect of daily life and continues to do so as new advancements are made. The rapid rate of progress has impacted most industries — sometimes in unexpected areas, like billing and invoicing processes and the ways consumers pay their bills.

Just imagine how busy your customers are on an average day.

Are most of them leading leisurely lives that allow for hours of self-reflection time? Or are they juggling multiple activities and just trying to keep up with a hectic schedule? Research indicates most adults fall into the less-idyllic category. And the results of this multi-tasking lifestyle are not positive.

The hustle and bustle of our modern world has people perpetually in motion, whether that’s physically running errands and commuting to work or attending back-to-back virtual meetings from home. Now this ever-present crunch for time is propelling bill payments in a digital direction, with online bill pay in high demand.

The new payments landscape and ebills

The old school way to pay bills was time consuming and slow for everyone involved, from the employee manually sending invoices and processing payments to the end consumer making the payment.

Before digital invoicing and eBilling, a customer had to write out a check from their bank account, stuff an envelope, find a stamp and finally mail the letter. Or worse, they had to load up the car, drive to a brick-and-mortar location, get out, go in, make a payment, return to the vehicle and finally drive back.

If someone has to do that today, what are the chances of that bill getting paid by the due date?

To make matters worse, the billers then may have to wait three or more business days to receive the payments in the mail before employees can manually process them — one by one. This entire system is antiquated and doesn’t benefit anyone involved. So, the decline of paper checks and using cash to pay bills is not surprising, nor is it breaking news. For years, the once prominent payment forms have taken a back seat to newer, more convenient ways to pay, like automatic payments. 

To help customers keep up with their busy lives and get bills paid on time, businesses can provide payment options that consumers want and need.

Why modern payment solutions help businesses succeed and grow

The most frequent consumer touch points for businesses are billing and payments interactions, and that’s why both play a big role in customer satisfaction.

Are you providing the bill payment services people want? Research shows that 80% of consumers want to use credit cards and checking account debit cards to make payments. And it’s not just younger customers who expect digital options and other convenient payment methods like electronic payments and recurring payments.

Since 2011, there has been a 140% increase of smartphone ownership, and almost 70% of adults 65 years and older regularly use the internet — indicating Americans of all generations are adopting technology at a growing rate.

To meet consumers where they are, leaders across industries are looking to a suite of technology that also provides robust reporting and essential insights to drive future success.

Omnichannel payment solutions

No matter what an organization’s mission is, getting paid on time is crucial. Providing multiple ways for customers to conveniently make those payments helps keep everything running smoothly — while also reducing overall costs and improving consumer satisfaction.

Omnichannel payment solutions like Bill Pay from Heartland provide an integrated system with paperless, web-based options in addition to processing real-time transactions. Robust reporting via the online portal gives leaders an up-to-date view of payment history and other important data.

Bill Pay facilitates online payments and in-person transactions, has an interactive voice response system and allows people to connect with live agents.

Online payments
Businesses can easily dive into the digital world using a simplified invoicing system on a hosted payments page. Customers receive electronic invoices via email and can quickly make payments online through any internet-connected device. The system comes with recurring payment and automated payments functionality, and it eliminates dependency on snail-mail remittance checks.

In-person transactions
With multiple terminal options and a mobile app for easy on-site payments, businesses can accept all major credit cards and debit cards while remaining fully PCI compliant. Fee-based transactions keep the cost of card payments low and easy to manage. Heartland offers wireless terminals, versatile countertop point-of-sale systems and an app-based solution to cover all in-person transactions.

Automated phone system
An interactive voice response system powered by leading technology makes automated payments over the phone quick and contactless. When customers can’t stop by a physical location or log in online, a fast phone call helps ensure important bills don’t go unpaid. The toll-free line is available 24/7 and can be customized to fit your organization’s unique needs.

Live agents
Helpful representatives accept payments and answer questions with a focus on excellent service. The support team is available through a toll-free number and provides a key contact point for billing and payments — the most frequent consumer touch points. Merchants also have a direct line for live assistance and never have to navigate a phone tree to reach product support.

Who needs omnichannel payment solutions?

Big, multi-faceted organizations use omnichannel solutions to process billing, invoicing and payments on a large scale. There are four main industries which rely on automation to operate efficiently and to provide the highest level of customer service to both merchants and consumers.

Government
Courts, municipalities, commissions, taxing entities and utilities can collect fees and other charges or schedule payments

Medical
Billing services for small practices, large health systems and everything in between

Auto and insurance
Streamlined payment options for dealer service centers, auto financing and insurance companies

Property management
Residential and commercial management, including HOA accounts

The payoff of better payments

When consumers have simple payment solutions, bills are more likely to get paid on time, resulting in less late fees and happier customers. It’s unlikely that the pace of life will slow — but speeding up time-consuming processes can give everyone a little more peace of mind.

Download this free infographic to see exactly how much online bill payment and other advanced technology reduce overhead costs, improve security, boost back-office efficiency and endear customers to your business.

Sources:

1Horrigan, John B., “How People Approach Facts and Information,” Pew Research Center, August 2017.

2ibid.

3Federal Reserve, 2019 Federal Reserve Payments Study, federalreserve.gov, 2020

4Greene, Claire; Schuh, Scott; Stavins, Joanna, “The 2021 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice,” Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, 2018.

5Clymo, Rob, “More than 6.1 billion people will use digital payments by 2023,” Tech Radar, techradar.com, May 12, 2020.

6Disco, Jim, “Why personalization is key for retail customer experiences,” Retail Customer Experience, retailcustomerexperience.com, Oct. 19, 2017.