We’ve talked about getting out of dealing with checks before. But last night I was reminded again -from an actual backflow testing customer- just how passionate people are about not wanting to deal with checks anymore.
If you’re still billing your customers and waiting on them to send you a check- it’s time to stop!
The stats are clear – the use of paper checks is in free fall.
Sasha has talked about the costs of mailing paper bills before as well. In short – it’s expensive, far more expensive than the cost of credit card processing fees. And it’s likely more expensive than you think it is.
But back to my specific example. I was attending a local entrepreneur event put on by the excellent Oregon TiE group. At the end of the evening we were all milling around and chatting. A women remembered me from a previous event and excitedly came up and told me she loved what we were doing.
‘We just had our backflow device tested this week, and now I have to pay them, but they want a check!’
She then proceeded to pull out her iphone and quickly scroll through her email and open the attached PDF showing me the test report and invoice.
Cool, I thought – their testing company is doing PDFs, that helps a lot – but they want a check for payment or you can call them to do a credit card over the phone. And I can tell it’s a paper test report that’s been scanned. That testing company is not only printing out a test report for their water purveyor, but they are also spending the time to scan it back for their customers convenience – that’s even more time!
But this story is about our customer – they didn’t see the time savings of a PDF or the email convenience. All they saw was how much extra work they had to do to pay what they considered a small bill – they wanted convenience and they were passionate about wanting that convenience!
Your customer expects the same convenience in paying for a backflow device test that they get in the rest of their life – they want an auto-billed credit card and an automatic email – ask them. I bet a lot of your customers don’t know where their checkbooks are!
We’ve heard this before when we were gathering the requirements for our customer portal. And I can say this is exactly what our customer portal offers. That wasn’t an accident.
It’s not too often that you ask a homeowner about backflow device testing and have them get fired up. I was pumped up to hear this person’s passion – they cared about making the process easier for them because they understood it wouldn’t only benefit them but also their testing company.
Talk to your customers – sometimes hearing what they don’t want is more important than what they do want. I don’t think any of them will ask to pay by check, that’s for sure!