The past couple of years have accelerated the need for advancements in payment technology within the Energy Industry. Tech savvy consumers are seeking modern payment methods that they trust and are familiar with and the largest request from customers is to make payments via their cell phones.
Like most businesses today, Marketers are no doubt familiar with cell phone payment apps. Apps like PayPal, Google Pay and Venmo that allow customers to pay for products and services right from their mobile devices. The ease and convenience of these apps have made them quite popular. But more recently there has been another cell phone payment option that is fast gaining favor among American consumers. It’s called text-to-pay.
Text-to-pay is a payment format that utilizes the text messaging feature found on your customers’ cell phones. That’s different from payment apps, which are accessed through the web browser on your customers’ mobile devices.
Text-to-pay works by your customer opting into receiving from you what is called an SMS message—for short message service. An SMS is a text message. The customer chooses to receive this text by agreeing to share with you their billing information. Once you have this information, you can then send your bill directly by text. Customers can then respond in kind to your texted bill with their own text reply. This reply can trigger a charge to the payment method on file. Alternatively, they can opt to pay their bill online by clicking a link provided.
Why would a customer choose to receive a bill by text? For one thing, it’s uncomplicated. There’s no need to deal with any third-party apps. And second, it’s fast, especially when it comes to paying for any purchases. Once a customer’s payment information is within your billing system, your customer can pay for their purchases by just pressing a few buttons on their mobile device. Providing more of the seamless shopping experience your customers demand. If there is one thing customers have come to expect in the last few years, it’s simplicity. Text-to-pay is another way marketers can simplify the payment process for customers. It’s a paperless experience after all. No need for writing checks or stuffing envelopes. And no need for stamps. Better still, text-to-pay can be used for more than just paying bills. It’s a better way for you to send your customers reminder notices or broadcast messages. Meanwhile the advantages text-to-pay offers to businesses can’t be understated. This begins with the fact that making it easier for your customers to pay their bills also makes it a whole lot easier for you to be sure you get paid. When a customer is notified on their
phone of an invoice and then is given a very easy way to make that payment through text-by-pay, studies show such customers are more likely to make that payment AND make it on time. According to Textline.com, when comparing emailing invoices vs texting invoices, “90 percent of texts are read within three minutes of being received. Forty-five percent of texts receive a response, and the average response time for a text is around 90 seconds.” With a 98% open rate invoices are seen and paid faster compared to a standard 20% open rate with emails. If your invoice is opened, it is more likely to be paid and that is good news for marketers.
And just as text-to-pay saves your customers from all the hassles of manual paper payments, it also means less mailing and printing costs for you. And it saves you time. Time saved is more time you can spend on other things—like creating even more ways to enhance the customer experience.
At least 78 percent of people wish they could have a text conversation with a business and in the end, it never hurts to give your customers options. Providing options means you are thinking about the needs of your customers first. And customers respect that. It leads to happier customers. And happier customers lead to repeat sales.
Marci Gagnon is the Vice President of Strategic Alliances for Qualpay and has been in the payments industry for over 15 years with a concentration on recurring billing and the Energy space. Qualpay provides processing solutions to fuel delivery and service businesses with tools designed to provide real-time reconciliation and cost reduction. For additional information contact Marci Gagnon at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.qualpay.com/industry/utility-and-energy.