There are many elements that go into running a small business, some exciting and some challenging. One challenge every business has to face from the start is payment processing. There are two elements to streamlining your payment processes as a small business owner. One directly benefits your customers and the other directly benefits your business.
In this article, we will share the best ways to streamline payment processes for both so that you can be more successful in 2022.
Payments in a Digital World
Digital payments have been increasing ever since they first came on the scene in around the 1990s when online banking services were made available to customers. As you can imagine, these online services looked very different from what we use today.
Since then, online digital payments (thankfully) have drastically changed - and for the better! Mobile banking apps, Apple Pay, PayPal, and more have meant payments can be made in a few quick clicks.
For small businesses, this is excellent news. It means that you can apply for a credit card, set up direct deposit, and receive payments quickly and easily - all without having to leave your office or stand in line at the bank.
There’s no longer any need to visit the bank in-person and request a money transfer because all banking transactions can be completed online, making payment processes more convenient and streamlined than ever before.
However, you need to consider the risks of bank account fraud. Banks are now installing detection systems to prevent bank account takeover, although customers should also understand the value of keeping their accounts private.
How to Streamline Payment Processes for Your Customers
Below are some of the best ways you can streamline your payment processes in order to offer a great customer experience.
Offer Contactless Card Payments
When we talk about streamlining the payment process, we’re not just talking about it from the perspective of your convenience. In fact, the most important reason why you should streamline your payment processes is to make your customers happy. It is a fact that your customers want to make a payment as simple as possible. So, the more streamlined your payment process, the happier they will be.
Offering contactless payment makes the purchasing process more convenient and faster for customers. So, it should come as no surprise that 83% of people in the UK use contactless payments. There are many benefits to accepting contactless for your small business:
- Ease of use for customers of all ages and abilities
- Convenience (for both your business and your customers)
- Acceptance of multiple payment methods
- Safe and secure transactions
- Efficient business operation (no long queues in-store)
- Improved customer service and experience
- Increased business revenue
Simplify Online Payment Processes
Your customers should be able to make payments online with ease. The more simplified your online payment process is, the more likely you are to increase your revenue. Unfortunately, customers tend to face numerous challenges when attempting to pay for products and services online, including but not limited to:
- Preferred method of payment unavailable
- Order and delivery details not clearly stated
- Confirmation of payment nonexistent
- Lack of customer support
- Broken checkout process flow
- Too many adverts and other pop-ups
- Lengthy forms
- Poorly optimized web pages
As a small business owner, your best chance of making a successful online sale is by streamlining the payment process. You can achieve this by: accepting all forms of payment, clearly stating order and delivery details, optimizing navigation for all devices, and shortening input forms to essential information only.
Having a streamlined payment process on your website is just as important as streamlining your payment process in-store. It’s all about offering a great customer experience so that people return to your brand again and again.
Accept Mobile App Payments
When your business offers mobile app payments you are prioritizing the convenience of your customers, benefitting from faster payments, and positively impacting the customer experience. With mobile app payments, your customers can buy your products or services from their mobile. This is ideal as it means they don’t need to carry around a wallet and they can make quick and easy payments when it’s convenient for them.
Mobile app payments are also a popular choice for customers as they offer a sense of security. When a customer makes a payment via a mobile application, their financial details are encrypted and stored in cloud servers rather than on the mobile device. This leaves customers less exposed to problems like fraud and hackers. Accepting mobile app payments makes your service more accessible, trustworthy, and convenient for your customers, encouraging them to return again and again.
How to Streamline Payment Processes for Your Business
Below we share some of the best ways you can streamline the internal payment processes for your business.
Digitize Account Management
Did you know that thousands of small business owners in the UK have no idea what state their finances are in, with one in six claiming they are ‘too busy’ to monitor their finances? It is no secret that managing your finances can be challenging - and that’s in addition to the demands of running a business. However, understanding the state of your finances and monitoring your cash flow is one of the best ways to facilitate manageable growth.
Digitization has made keeping on top of your business accounts easier than ever before. With the support of accounting software you can:
- Monitor your income
- Keep track of your invoices and expenses
- Chase late payments
- Automate things like invoice creation
Not only does this simplify one of the more boring aspects of running a small business but it reduces the likelihood of errors, saves time on invoice creation, and (most importantly) provides you with a detailed record of all your business transactions.
Automate Client Payment Requests
How often do you forget to send an invoice to a client? With all the stresses and responsibilities of running a business, it is easily done. However, it can be costly to your business, causing delayed payments that affect business cash flow. Thankfully, there is a solution.
Automated payments are one of the best ways you can streamline the payment processes of your small business. Using online accounting software you can set up automated and recurring payments. This means you can schedule invoices to send and payments to occur at regular intervals. Mobile invoicing can help you do this. This provides regularity for your business and reliability for your clients. And the best thing is, that once set up, automated payments require little to no intervention from you.
Ask for Feedback
If you want to streamline your payment processes even further, why not reach out to your clients and customers? How do they want to pay? What would they like to see from your business? Is there anything you aren’t currently doing that you could be?
Your customers and clients will have some great ideas about how you can make your payment processes more helpful and efficient. No matter how successful your business becomes, you should always take the time to ask for feedback and use this feedback to make positive changes. There is nothing more valuable for bettering your service and growing your business.
As you can see, there are many ways you can streamline the payment processes of your small business. We hope our strategies have inspired you to make some positive changes. Remember, streamlining processes is all about making things easier; both for your business and for your customers.