How Do Your Customers Want to Pay?

home_a1-1.jpgThe customer is always right . . . right? This adage has been a tried and true bit of wisdom across businesses for many decades. The facts are simple. If you want to be successful as a business, you have to:

  • Keep customers happy
  • Provide a service/product they want
  • Adapt as needed to meet customer demand and preferences

Of course, there’s always an element of risk involved in any business decision–especially your choice of methods for accepting payments. However, ultimately, some risks are worth the potential rewards.

As one author wrote in a business.com article, “The ideal payment processes are rooted in the preferences of your customer—not those of your staff, or even your ideal business model.”

In essence, what’s best for the customer is what’s best for your business.

So then the question becomes: What’s payment methods are best for your customers?

This is an important question to consider as you look to expand your payment processing options to allow for accepting payments from either different sources or in different ways. Customer demand should be your driving focus, but how do you gauge that?

Below are some important questions to ask yourself about your business. The answers can help you determine what payment methods and opportunities would be ideal for your customer base.

What payment features would be most useful and convenient for your customers?

When considering how to improve your payment options based on customer demand, start by considering your business type and how your customers pay. For instance, a small retail business selling mostly solid, tangible items would generally be taking single, one-time payments. The most important thing for such a business to consider is creating an easy online ordering system that allows for shopping, online payments, and quick shipping. For a business specializing in a regular service, however, an automated payment option would be ideal, so patients can set up their card for a monthly withdrawal and never have to worry about it again. It’s possible to go even further by adding an update service to automatically update your customer’s card information in the event of changes to the card-on-file.  Convenience is key for customer satisfaction—and a satisfied customer is one who comes back again and again.

How mobile is your business, and how mobile are your customers?

If your business is on-the-go, make sure you’ve acquired the right tools to allow your customers to use payment cards no matter where you may be located. You don’t ever want to have to turn away a sale because you were only equipped to take cash. The flip side is considering how mobile your customers might be. Your best investment might be investing in a mobile app or mobile friendly payment options that makes accepting payments from mobile phones both easy and secure.

What expectations do your customers have regarding the purchasing process—and how can you meet them?

Customer demand is, as ever, the core of good business. As a successful business owner, you’ve probably spent hours upon hours considering what your customer wants from your products or services. Well, you also need to take a bit of time to consider what they want from the overall purchasing and payment process. First, customer today expect to be able to use payment cards to make their purchases. It’s up to you to determine which card you will accept, as some do cost fees, and which to exclude. Your type of business and customer demographic plays a huge role in this decision. Second, they expect for the process to be as quick, easy, and painless as possible. If it’s not, you’re going to lose more business than you think.

Finally, is there any way to make purchasing even easier for your customers?

Too many steps and too much hassle are notorious for lost revenue. Take away the difficulty, and you will undoubtedly find your numbers on the rise. For instance, if you’re setting up an automated payment card system for your regular product or service, make sure the necessary authorizations and paperwork are digital to make the process quicker and easier. If they have to fax documentation in to you, the likelihood that you’ll get those documents back is less than the chance of success if they can do everything immediately and online. There are many other examples of automated processes that would be unique to your business, but customer demand emphasizes convenience. Make it easy for them, and they will stick with you.

Accepting payments can be a tricky business—one that relies more on your customers’ needs than on immediate convenience for your business. Make the right choices about payment methods and options for your business by knowing your customers.

Analyze your business, using data about past purchases and your customers’ spending patterns, and you’ll discover a great deal about how your business functions.

Armed with that knowledge, you can respond more favorably to customer demand, starting with a payment system and versatile payment options that are just right for your customer base and your business type.

There are plenty of options out there—and your customers will be more than happy, when making a one-time or monthly payment, is as simple as clicking a few buttons and enjoying the results.

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Ashley.jpgAbout the Author – Ashley Choate is a native of Jacksonville, FL where she lives with her son, dog, and three cats. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Jacksonville University with a BA in English and holds an MAED in Adult Education and Training. She lives for reading and writing, learning and teaching, and figuring out the day-to-day traumas and joys of mommyhood. .