Online billing is one of the fastest-growing financial sectors worldwide.
The rapid pace of digitization, coupled with the growing popularity of online payment solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, has made it clear that the future of payment is digital.
In 2020, the total value of digital payments worldwide was $5.2 trillion, and that figure is sure to increase in the coming years.
That means effective online billing solutions are an essential piece of your business’s ability to remain adaptable and competitive—no matter its industry or size.
It’s not just about keeping up with technology, however. There are many benefits to online billing that have a tangible impact on your business’s financial health.
In this article, we’ll take a look at six of the major advantages of using online customer billing.
- Faster Payments
- Cost Savings
- Access to Information
- Reduced Paperwork
- Online Billing: Essential for Any Growing Business
One of the greatest benefits of online billing is the ability to streamline the otherwise time-consuming task of collecting payments from customers.
And, as the old adage goes, time is money.
The time and manpower it takes to create and send an invoice for each client every time a payment comes due can add up to huge costs, especially for smaller businesses.
Instead, online billing tools let you create a payment schedule for each customer.
Then, the tool automatically sends invoices when a payment is due—and it can even send automated reminders when a payment is past due.
The upshot is that you can “set it and forget it”; by automating these mundane and time-consuming tasks, you and your employees can be freed up to focus on other things.
Not only will you save time on the front end by not having to manually create and send invoices, but you’ll also spend less time chasing down clients for late payments.
Through online billing, you can send automated reminders at pre-selected intervals to remind customers of past-due payments.
This feature also makes it less likely for unpaid invoices to fall through the cracks, leaving you to absorb the cost.
Automated online billing offers great customer service potential as well.
In today’s digital age, more and more customers are looking for the ease and efficiency of online solutions.
The pandemic only further exacerbated the demand for easy and contactless payment options.
An effective online automated billing process with a good customer interface makes your business look professional and innovative.
Your customers are also looking to simplify their lives, and receiving an automated invoice over email or text with straightforward instructions for online payment is much more efficient than sending payment through mail or over the phone.
And since automated billing involves creating a profile beforehand with the customer’s information and payment plan, it also makes it less likely that you’ll send the customer a faulty invoice.
Manually creating an invoice for each payment can lead to human error, which reflects poorly on your business.
If you have a customer with a complicated payment plan, for instance, or a customer with a hard-to-spell name or address, you’re more likely to make a mistake if you’re entering that information in each invoice yourself.
Regpack’s automated billing system is the perfect way to get started with automated billing.
Our tool’s auto-billing system integrates with your business’s website through an easy-to-use interface for both you and your customers.
It also has several settings that can be adjusted to create customized payment plans, including:
- The choice between payment plans based on percentage or specific amounts
- Adding deposits, with installments calculated based on the deposit made
- Payment plans for the entire order or just for specific goods/services
- Ability to adjust the payoff timeline
Automating the payment process makes costly mistakes less likely, which helps maintain your professional reputation and good customer relations.
Not only does automated billing save your business time and money, but it also creates a better experience for your customers and reduces churn.
In the age of the internet, online security is an ever-growing concern.
It’s estimated that about 45% of U.S. businesses have experienced a data breach in the last year—and cybercrime is growing exponentially, putting billions of dollars at risk every day.
Source: Finances Online
And as branding expert Victoria Greene writes for Payments Journal:
“Proper payment security has the power to make or break your business—you could spend years establishing yourself as a trustworthy brand, and lose it all overnight thanks to an online payments glitch.”
Keeping customer information secure is an ever-present challenge.
The good news is that with online billing, you can offer your customers a payment method that provides excellent protection for their personal details and account information, all while giving them a great user experience and peace of mind.
Online billing solutions offer features like password protection and multi-factor authentication to protect your customer’s sensitive information.
Also, secure online billing reduces the risk of data breaches due to human error.
When mailing dozens of invoices at a time, it’s all too easy to accidentally send one to the wrong person or place.
This leads to privacy breaches and security issues. Automated invoicing and user verification make it much less likely that your customer’s information will be accessed by the wrong person.
Online billing tools also offer businesses secure and reliable means of processing credit, debit, ACH, and other types of payments.
The online payment solutions offered by Regpack are PC-2 compliant and are easily integrated into your business’s website through an online payment form.
In today’s business environment, there’s no reason to put up with waiting several days (or even weeks) for a check to arrive in the mail.
That’s not even to mention the time it takes to physically deposit a check and wait for the funds to clear.
An online customer billing tool simplifies the payment process for both you and your customers. With online billing, you reduce clients’ barriers to payment by:
- Offering multiple payment options
- Saving payment details for one-click processing
- Prompting clients to update expired credit or debit card information
And faster payments make your business run more smoothly. Online billing makes it easier to chase down late payments through automated reminders.
Also, many online payment options require funds availability on the customer’s end, which means you’re less likely to have to deal with failed or reversed payments.
Faster payments also help with liquidity management. Cash flow problems can lead to the need for costly short-term loans to cover your expenses.
The fewer late and failed payments on your plate, the more funds will be available right away for your use.
Your ability to grow and maintain your business depends on the available funds, so it is crucial to take steps to support good cash flow ahead of time.
Online customer billing can be an important part of your business’s financial health.
With online billing, the transaction process is made as convenient as possible for your customer with features like:
- The ability to send invoices not just through email, but also over text or through apps like WhatsApp
- Expanded payment options, including debit/credit card transactions, ACH transfers, PayPal, and ApplePay
- A click-through process that quickly guides customers through making their payment, starting with the invoice or payment reminder
The flexibility of online billing also means that you can accommodate customer requests for customized payment plans much more easily.
You can even set up automatic debits from a customer’s account, simplifying things even more for both you and your customer.
This is especially useful for recurring payments or long-term subscriptions.
We’ve already noted some of the ways online billing can lead to big cost savings for your business, but this point deserves some emphasis.
If you’re billing customers through the mail, imagine the ways you could cut costs by switching to online billing, including:
- Printing expenses
- The labor hours required to create paper invoices
Online billing also has great customer service benefits, and happy customers are good for business.
More and more, consumers are looking for efficient, easy, and secure ways to process payments online.
The accessibility and customizable features of online billing grant the customer a measure of flexibility and control over the process that’s very appealing.
As any business owner knows, it’s critical to keep customers coming back. Research shows that it can cost up to 7 times more to gain a new customer than to keep an old one.
Source: Markin Blog
Therefore, making payments more convenient with online billing leads to greater customer satisfaction and retention—which translates to greater cost savings for you.
Not only that, but online billing supports timelier and more accurate invoices. No one wants to get an invoice in the mail, only to find once they receive it that the invoice isn’t right.
As Jordan Westley, E-commerce and OMS Expert puts it:
“If you notice you are spending a lot of time on invoicing and are prone to errors because of having to rush through them, it’s probably time to consider digitizing your process.”
Online billing can help you avoid such mistakes, maintain professionalism, and keep your customers happy.
Online billing also supports integration with accounting software and other business tools, making accurate record-keeping easier.
This feature not only saves the cost of labor hours needed for that data entry, but the ability to see an accurate and up-to-date picture of your finances is also critical in making good business decisions.
Access to Information
Online billing allows for easier access to information and more transparency between you and your customer.
If customers are communicating with multiple individuals in your organization, it’s crucial that all of your employees have access to the same information in order to provide good customer service.
Online billing supports the integration of customer information, billing plans, and payment details and makes this information easily accessible by anyone in your organization.
That way, a customer asking a question won’t be given contradictory information by different employees or placed on hold for a long time while you track down the requested data.
Online billing systems can also carry much of the burden of communicating about payments with your clients.
It’s obviously better to have an established payment plan than to expect your clients to remember to make payments on their own, and nowadays, customers expect to receive email or text reminders when bills are due.
With manual billing, you and your staff are responsible for keeping track of every customer’s unique payment plan and due dates.
You need to stay on top of sending email reminders and chase down late payments when they inevitably arise.
But with online billing, all of this information tracking can be automated, and each customer’s account information is easily accessible by both you and the customer.
Online billing can also be integrated with other tools like accounting and customer management software.
This makes for easier record-keeping, which can be a lifesaver in the case of an audit or a payment discrepancy.
Online billing also makes it easier to share information with customers, which makes record-keeping easier for them as well.
The transparency this creates helps maintain your customers’ trust in you, especially when keeping track of complicated payment plans.
There’s also less potential for disputed payments, since invoice calculations are done by the billing software and not an employee with a calculator.
Another easily overlooked—but no less important—benefit of online billing is that it leads to less paperwork.
Digitizing (and automating) your customer information, payment processing, and data storage saves your business time, labor hours, and storage space.
Not only does reducing paperwork save your business money and hassle, but it also helps the environment by:
- Reducing energy and fossil fuel emissions used in paper production
- Saving water and wood used in paper production
- Reducing air, ground, and water pollution
- Reducing landfill waste
Reducing paperwork is also helpful for your customers. Increasingly, consumers prefer online transactions over sifting through piles of bills and invoices.
Online billing is simpler and cheaper than paper billing for both you and your customers.
Going paperless also goes hand-in-hand with greater access to information. Storing customer data electronically is much more effective than cabinets full of paper files.
Online Billing: Essential for Any Growing Business
Offering online billing options in 2022 is about much more than keeping up with technology trends.
It’s about capitalizing on the many benefits that come with it, like saved time, increased security, and greater efficiency.
At the end of the day, online billing provides a better experience for both you and your customers. It’s a simpler, less expensive, and more secure way to do business.
Your business will benefit from the increased efficiency and reduced costs—and your customers will appreciate the ease and transparency that online billing brings.