Auto-billing is one of the best ways to ensure you are continuously receiving subscription fees from your clients. It allows you to cut costs on your billing system which can be funnelled into other areas of the business to improve products and services.
There is evidence to suggest that a good auto-billing process will increase the trust between you and your clients in the long term. As the trust grows, your client may buy additional products or services from your business or become a powerful marketing tool to sign up their friends and family.
For the client, there are also significant benefits. Firstly they will know exactly when their payments are due and how much their invoice will be. Secondly, it saves time for them to be able to trust their credit card company or bank and your business to automatically process the payment. Thirdly, auto-billed clients can receive better customer service as these clients are classed as high priority by many businesses and are therefore are given preferential treatment.
Despite these advantages, there is sometimes resistance by clients to being placed on an auto-billing system. Some don’t initially trust companies, believing that once they are on an auto-billing contract the prices will increase without warning.
So how do you confront this resistance and encourage your clients to use your auto-billing system? Here are five ways:
Offer A Discount
Many energy companies use this as a way to encourage their clients to pay for fuel consumption on a monthly auto-bill process. Normally, the average savings clients make for signing up to the auto-billing system is about 5%. Savings are a particularly powerful tool for clients who are always looking to cut down on expenses and this way is great if you have a system that has a regular cost.
Offer A Fixed Term – Fixed Cost Deal
One of the major concerns for clients is a change in price just after they have signed on to an auto-billing system. You can alleviate these worries by offering a contract that states you will not raise the price of your services for 6 or 12 months. This is very good if you offer a service like telecommunications, software, etc.
During this term you are building trust because you are keeping to the contract. This will increase the chances you will retain that client for the long term.
Offer A Free Gift
Everyone loves receiving a free gift. If you offer them a token gift when clients sign up for auto-billing, they will become more interested in the option. The token gift doesn’t have to be expensive but it does have to be something highly useful and unique to gain any interest from the client.
Classic examples of gifts can be mugs, t-shirts and vouchers. Some of these can be branded so there is a constant reminder of who provided them with the service and can also act as subtle marketing messages to their peers.
Offer An Unique Feature
Sometimes it is good to entice your clients to the auto-billing system to offer them something that those on a pay-per-use system will not get. This makes them think they are getting a better deal for the same price – increasing the likelihood they will sign-up for your services.
Only Offer Auto-Billing
For some businesses, it is preferential to only offer their clients auto-billing as a method to make payments. In this case your clients have no choice and although it can sometimes have a negative impact at the beginning of the relationship, with good customer service you can turn create a positive relationship by the end of the first contract term.
There is sometimes resistance from your clients to sign up to an auto-billing system. However, there are significant benefits for both your business and customers in using an auto-billing system. You can encourage sign-up using one of the five tactics from the list above.