Trying to maintain customer loyalty in a recession? It’s time to digitalize the payment experience!

During tough economic times, consumers are more apt to switch suppliers in order to save money. But how can digitalizing invoicing and payment processes help improve your customer experience? And how can you do away with the needless administration that leads to price rises? Here are tips for how to get your customers to stick around during a recession.

Consumers feel the strain on their wallets right now as housing costs, electricity and food prices rise. Things probably won’t improve any time soon either, since the current recession is expected to last for several years. It’s not surprising then that customers are looking more closely at their fixed costs for ways of saving money. They are thus more prone to switching suppliers than they were in the past.

This presents new challenges for suppliers of things like electricity, insurance, telecom, broadband, home security and parking, requiring them to consider new strategies. So, as a service supplier, how can you find ways to attract, rather than lose, customers during tough economic times?

Reduce costs through streamlining processes

Rising energy costs and interest rates aren’t just something that households are struggling with, companies are burdened by this as well. If the only way you compensate is by raising your own prices, you risk increasing your churn rate. And once your customers have canceled their agreement or subscription with you, winning them back will be nearly impossible, and very costly.

A much smarter strategy is to look more closely at your own administrative processes and ways of streamlining them. How do you work with billing today? Charging your customers more can cost you more than you think: many companies are burdened by time-consuming manual processes, complex IT infrastructures, and the demands of coordinating a multitude of different suppliers. Automation and digitalization can help free up resources that could be put to better use, like shortening the response time of your customer service department. This will make for more satisfied, loyal customers. A classic win-win situation!

Here are some common time thieves in the billing process:

  • Administration of erroneous payments
  • Activation of automatic payment methods
  • Answering similar billing questions from customers over and over again

Here’s how you can streamline with smart digitalization:

  • Automatic matching of customer and invoice
  • Seamless transition to digital and/or automatic payment methods
  • Interactive invoice with integrated messaging feature directly connecting customers to customer service
  • Machine learning to answer routine questions
  • Improved customer experience that boosts loyalty

Improved customer experience that boosts loyalty

Offering a competitive price is important. But that’s not all there is to it, even during a recession. Many factors impact the overall customer experience, such as your availability, service level, flexibility and how easy it is to use your products or services.

Billing is thus an area worth prioritizing. For many companies with ongoing services, billing is the main interface that you have with your customers. The invoice (or other payment method) is thus a crucial part of the customer experience. It is also the channel of communication with the largest potential for getting a response.

Here’s how a digitalized payment process improves customer experience:

  • Quickly help customers with invoice questions without them waiting in a telephone queue, and without needing reexplain the problem every time the call gets transferred.
  • Proactive communication about what affects the cost and what customers can do about it.
  • “Soft” reminders (without fees attached) about due dates to avoid late payments.
  • Attractive, customized offers, such as better prices by combining several services or opting for a longer contract period.
  • Options for partial payment or deferring the due date.

Are you a service provider who would like to learn more about how to prevent churn in times of economic uncertainty? Contact us so we can tell you more!