14 Ways to Improve ACH AutoPay Participation Rates
Recurring ACH Payment Processing offer businesses reliable, costs effective cash flow. But many businesses struggle in getting their customers to actually opt for for automated ACH Payments. NACHA rules mandate the customer must agree to automated bank account debits so getting that consumer on board is key.
1) Every time you interact with a customer whether they are paying a bill, signing up for service or calling for support let them know about the convenience of an automated payment plan or check by phone.
There must be a concerted ongoing effort from all team members. EVERY interaction is a chance to save $80/year. The data about who is/is not on AutoPay has to be at everyone’s fingertips. Whether that is via a software/Internet CRM or on an Excel sheet is not important [although automated follow up (auto-responder like AWeber) with CRM system would be nice].
Consider rewarding conversions-remember these can be worth $80/year. If you average client stays with you for 30 [Lifetime value] months you are looking at $200 in savings. If you get someone good at this process have them document what they do and let others model. Make it a contest with the most converts awarded a gift card etc.
2) Include information about your automated payment plan or check by phone option on all invoices and customer correspondences. Include a call to action to sign up for the automated plan and make it easy for them to do so.
3) Make your web site a billboard for your automated billing plan. Include sign up forms and directions. Educate your customer Your payment processing partner may randomly perform compliance audits. Depending on your software provider or internal technical abilities it may be possible to automate the entire process and have ACH or credit card data pushed into the software.
4) Start an incentive campaign for automated payment sign up. Consider giving away free certificates (see step 6) or possibly offer 5-10% off their next 3 months billing or some other motivational offer. Consider partnering with a local business and offer cross promotional coupons for 10% off products in return for program sign up. An example might be a restaurant/plumber/HVAC.
5) Telemarket your customers and let them know about the program and advantages of signing up. You can use internal staff or hire a telemarketing firm to call for you. For a couple of hundred dollars you may be able to up your participation rate dramatically.
If you have staff with downtime fill it with these types of calls. Utilize any of the other suggestions and TRAIN them what and how to say it. Please do NOT leave this to chance-train, measure and strategize how to improve. $80 year per client incentive to get this right. If they leave a message direct to your website.
6) Consider an Incentive program whereby you can reward the customer with a free certificate for: $300 in Gas or Groceries, free vacation, hotel and/or airline tickets. You can try Restaurant.com as a source of certificates or http://www.creativemarketingincentives.biz/
This can be used for MULTIPLE purposes. In-home estimates? Offer reward. How about referrals? Current client refers and gets certificates. Renewals? Anniversary-one year client appreciation. How about surprising new client with $25 restaurant certificate? Very nice way to create a wow moment.
7) Consider implementing an Auto Pay only option for new customers. You can give them a choice of paying automatically via check or credit card. Stress all benefits [#13].
I can hear some of you saying “that won’t work-I will lose customers”. Although this may be true this may end up being a good thing [what!]. YES-in fact you should probably fire some clients. There will always be people who demand everything,
appreciate nothing and want to pay next to nothing. They are simply not worth the money and aggravation. Focus on attracting “ideal” clients. People you want to work with and love helping. Those that balk at paying automatically are likely slow payers or “problem” customers. Fire em. You will replace with ideal clients.
8) Consider posting posters with testimonials from current Autopay users bragging on the benefits of not having to remember to write a check each month. Put these on your website and any brochures/customer correspondence.
9) Offer a raffle for 3 months free service to the winner or $100 cash card etc. You only get a ticket if you are a current AutoPay user or you switch over.
10) To incent customer to choose the Recurring ACH Processing option over credit cards consider a fee increase for credit card related payments (same price for ACH)
11) REWARD your employees that recruit clients to AutoPay. $25 gift card, restaurant certificate, an hour off work? Be creative. This is a GREAT way to offer your team a shot at extra money. You may even uncover a natural salesperson you have working for you.
12) Tout the benefits: 1-The environment: no more paper invoices/reminder letters/paper checks/bank trips etc etc. 2-You want to focus on providing the best level of service possible.
The less time you spend on admin stuff the more you focus on customer needs. Especially for non-profits the net benefit to the charity/church etc should be stressed.
13) Charge an admin fee [eg an extra $5/month] for NOT using AutoPay. Hit people in the wallet.
14) POS sign up: If you are in a client’s home and can close your sale pre-sell them on Autopay and present it as the best option [use our education piece that details how electronic payments are MUCH safer than paper checks or mailing in payments.
So get to work implementing Recurring ACH Processing in your business. A concerted effort by your whole team can yield massive results that make you a more profitable, efficient, process driven, valuable business!