Tag Archives: recurring billing

How To Make Your Online Subscription Page More Trustworthy

Making a purchase is a mix of emotion and logic. Some studies find that emotion may play a large role, but other studies refute those findings.

Either way, when people make decisions they’re often using trust when deciding based on logic or emotion. For example, a person might visit an online store and get a good feeling from the friendly design and the storytelling nature of the product descriptions. This is emotional trust.

In another example, a person might purchase something based on multiple recommendations. These recommendations are available facts and data from trusted sources that lead to a logical purchasing decision.

Because trust is so important in the buying process, it’s important to make sure that your subscription page is trustworthy enough to convert potential buyers.

Here are a few suggestions.

1. Clear Pricing And Description

Online Subscription Page Amazon

Amazon Prime is very popular. On the subscription page, Amazon lists the description in easy-to-read bullet points and the price terms are easy to see as well. See: 30-Day Free Trial and $99/year. Also, noting that customers can cancel at anytime provides a guarantee.

Confusion is a conversion killer. If your website visitor doesn’t completely understand what they’re paying for on your subscription site you run the risk of losing their business.

Keep the design simple. Keep the product title and description the same as they are on other pages on the site and most importantly, make sure the final price is visible.

Clear pricing and descriptions show that you’re not trying hide anything or trying to pull one over on people and you look trustworthy.

2. Highlight Your Customer Service

Online Subscription Page Go Daddy

Go Daddy offers a variety of subscription services including their ecommerce platform. Notice the bullet for their customer support. This lets people know that there is someone there to help them at all times. It’s especially important for those in the tech world.

In one study, people highlighted customer service as the number one factor in their determination of how much they should trust a company.

People want to know that they can count on you to be there for them after they make their purchase. They might be excited about the product or service, but in most cases something will go wrong at some point. People realize this and they’re fine with it, but they want to know that someone will be there if there is an issue or a question.

On your subscription page, add a short sentence or even a short tagline highlighting your customer service. It might be an industry award for “Best In Industry Support” or “24/7/365 Support By Phone Or Email”.

It’s just a little reminder that can make a difference for many customers.

3. Offer A Guarantee And Make It Visible

Online Subscription Page Basecamp

Some people have commitment issues. Ensuring that they can get a refund can push them over the edge to purchase even though they probably won’t request a refund. (via Basecamp)

Guarantees have been around for a long time. The reason so many companies use guarantees is because they work to reassure customers that they can go back on their purchase if the product or service doesn’t live up to promises made.

If you have chosen to offer a guarantee for your subscription product, make that guarantee visible somewhere on the subscription page. It gives your company credibility and earns trust in the eyes of the customer.

4. Use Words Or Logos To Offer Security Assurance

Online Subscription Page Moz

This is the Moz subscription page. Notice the logo for Norton Secured. That gives people comfort knowing that the information is protected on some level.

Security is a big concern with online users. It seems there is a new story about online information hacking every other day and people are concerned. They don’t want their email addresses and other information being compromised or used for unintended purposes.

If you use secure pages and security programs, say it on your subscription page and use logos of recognized companies to emphasize the fact that your subscription transaction is a secure one.

5. Use Logos To Add Clarity

Online Subscription Page Golf Digest

When people subscribe to Golf Digest they know exactly what they’re getting by seeing the images.

Finally, logos add visual assurance to people using your subscription page. It’s important to show your logo and any recognizable product or service logos. These give potential customers one final visual confirmation that they’re purchasing the correct product.

For example, if you’re selling a publishing company, show the logo of the specific title the customer is purchasing. The title listed in text is good, but the logo next to that text adds more reassurance and further trust.

Conclusion

Trust is a critical element in the buying process. Your customers have to determine if they trust you enough to click the final “Buy” button on your subscription page. If there is any potential lack in trust you risk losing a new customer.

Use the suggestions in this post to improve your subscription page. They can help to make the page trustworthy with customers.

Do you need recurring billing and subscription management software? Call or email one of our experts at info@fusebill.com or 888.519.1425. Or, check out the Fusebill free trial.

Happy Holidays

All of us at Fusebill would like to wish all of you a safe and happy holiday season!

Just a little something…

As a token of appreciation to all of our readers, we’d like to offer you a free copy of our Best of the Fusebill Blog, a compilation of our most shared, re-tweeted, liked, pinned, and commented-on blog posts in 2013. Download here

 

Twelve Days of Fusebill Christmas

1

On the first day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me online invoicing.

2

On the second day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me 2 mobile swipers and online invoicing.

 

 

3On the third day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me 3 checkout pages, 2 mobile swipers and online invoicing.

 

 

4

On the fourth day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me 4 product bundles, 3 checkout pages, 2 mobile swipers and online invoicing.

5

On the fifth day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me 5 helping hands.

6On the sixth day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me 6 self-serve portals, 5 helping hands  4 product bundles,  3 checkout pages, 2 mobile swipers and online invoicing.

 

 

7On the seventh day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me 7 credit card payments,  6 self-serve portals,  5 helping hands, 4 product bundles,  3 checkout pages, 2 mobile swipers and online invoicing.

8On the eighth day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me 8 robust reports,  7 credit card payments,  6 self-serve portals,  5 helping hands 4 product bundles,  3 checkout pages, 2 mobile swipers and online invoicing.

9On the ninth day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me 9 coupons & discounts, 8 robust reports,  7 credit card payments,  6 self-serve portals, 5 helping hands,  4 product bundles,  3 checkout pages, 2 mobile swipers and online invoicing.

10On the tenth day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me 10 pricing plans,  9 coupons & discounts, 8 robust reports,  7 credit card payments,  6 self-serve portals, 5 helping hands,  4 product bundles,  3 checkout pages, 2 mobile swipers and online invoicing.

11On the eleventh day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me 11 product components, 10 pricing plans,  9 coupons & discounts, 8 robust reports,  7 credit card payments, 5 helping hands,  6 self-serve portals,  4 product bundles,  3 checkout pages, 2 mobile swipers and online invoicing.

12

On the twelfth day of Christmas Fusebill gave to me… FUSEBILL 2014!

Chargebacks: A Good Defence is the Best Offence

In a recent post we talked about chargebacks and how scary they can be, especially for subscription or recurring based businesses (click here if you missed this post). In that article we looked at what chargebacks are, and some good tips to preventing them.

Since this is such an important topic for business who sell online and particularly those with a recurring payment model, we thought we’d go a little bit deeper into how you can protect yourself from chargebacks.

Make sure you have a refund policy and that it’s easy to find.

If you sell online, make sure you state somewhere on your website what your refund policy is terms that are clear and easy to understand. AND make sure it’s easy for your customers to find! No matter how great it is, if people can’t find it, it’s not worth much.

Many companies (Fusebill included) have a link to their refund policy in their footer which appears on every page of their website.

fusebill refunds

Your refund policy should let your customers know what they are agreeing to before they buy your product or service. For example: if your policy is “no refunds,” the customer who knows this is much less likely to try to get a refund because they knew this before they purchased. On the other hand, customers who don’t know of your “no refunds” policy may try to get one – which could easily end with you facing a chargeback.

Having a refund policy clearly displayed on your website can also help you dispute a chargeback that occurred because a customer wanted a refund that you did not provide (because of your no refund policy).  In that case you’d be able to show that it is indeed on your website and the customer should have been aware.

Only ship products after verifying the billing address.

If you sell actual products (as opposed to services) make sure to verify the billing address before you send it, and use a shipping company that verifies delivery. People committing fraud will rarely have their purchases shipped to the address of the credit card they’ve stolen. If you only sell to customers who provide the same address for billing and shipping, you can usually be sure someone has not used a stolen card to make the purchase.

However, since this can limit your customers (for example many people ship to their work or send things they buy as gifts to another address) you can also use a shipper that verifies delivery. This means they only hand over the package to a person (sometimes requiring a signature) as opposed to leaving the package in a mail box. If there is a chargeback, you can use the delivery verification as evidence that the product was delivered.

Both of these tips are very easy for your business to implement and can save you a lot of time and money when it comes to preventing and defending yourself from chargebacks.

Chargebacks. Yikes!

chargebacks

For subscription businesses “chargeback” is a pretty scary word. It refers to the forcibly initiated reversal of a credit card transaction (funds are returned to the purchaser) by a customer’s credit card-issuing bank. Put in place chiefly for consumer protection, any purchaser can initiate a chargeback by calling the bank that issued their card and disputing one (or many) transactions.

As a consumer, chargebacks aren’t scary at all.  They provide incentive for quality products and customer service and a measure of security when using your card. But if you’re on the other end… chargebacks are something to avoid at all costs.

Why are chargebacks scary? There are a couple of reasons, the main one being money you collected is being taken away from you and given back to the purchaser.  If that’s not bad enough, you also lose the transaction fee, AND you have to pay a chargeback fee which can be anywhere from $20 to $40. And one more thing – if the original transaction was for a product, well… You’re probably not going to get that back.

However, the scariest thing about chargebacks is that if you have too many of them you’ll probably lose your merchant account. And that means you won’t be able to offer credit cards as a payment option, pretty much a knockout blow to any subscription business.

Here are some tips to prevent chargebacks:

Make good customer service a priority. Most of the time when a customer has a problem with a product or service they call the company they purchased it from first – not their bank. So make sure your website has easy to find contact information and, if you have a phone number, that you have people answering the phone. Once customers do get through, make sure your support agents are knowledgeable and pleasant. A positive experience with customer support can significantly reduce chargebacks.

Make sure your product or service is of good quality.  If your products are inferior or not as advertised you’re probably going to have issues with chargebacks. Customers who feel they’ve been cheated or lied to are more likely to want a refund, so make sure you provide what you say you provide.

Make sure what appears on your customer’s credit card bill is recognizable.  Customers should be able to easily see that the charge is from your company.  You can also include a line about what will appear on their credit card statement on your checkout page.

Invest in a billing service with robust, automated communication features. Emails that remind customers about subscriptions they have purchased, automatic renewals that are coming up, and successful payment notifications can go a long way in reducing chargebacks.

Stick with tradition, or move to subscription? Part 2

In the first part of this series, we looked at two verticals that some people may be surprised to find use the subscription based model – Gaming and transportation. If you missed that post you can read it here.

Today we’ll explore how the online dating and real estate industries are also enjoying the benefits of the subscription based model by offering their customers products and services with a recurring price tag.

Online dating 

online dating

Almost all online dating services charge a monthly subscription. eHarmony, match.com, and more offer full access to the profiles of other members who match your own for a set fee. 

Some sites offer different levels of membership with things like number of emails sent/received, number of pictures uploaded, or number of profiles you can access as differentiators.  Some online dating sites even offer one time purchases like gift cards, events, or add-on purchases such as more personalized match-making services.

Real Estate

for sale

The real estate industry uses subscription billing in several different ways. Real estate agents will often pay a monthly subscription in order to list their properties online, or to advertise their services.  Agencies may offer realtor training or advertising, and associations like REALTOR and REALOGY have membership fees that are often subscription based.

All types of businesses are moving to, or incorporating the subscription based model because of the many benefits – such as increasing the predictability and profitability of their revenue, and the opportunity to build strong, long-term relationships with their customers. However, this is really just the first step. To truly enjoy the benefits of the subscription-based business model, these businesses need to work with an automated billing and payments platform like Fusebill.

By adding a payments platform, subscription based businesses will get to market faster, be able to simplify their billing operations, will eliminate bottlenecks that prevent scaling, and will be better positioned to compete, adapt, and react faster than their competitors  – all of which will increase revenues, attract more customers, and build a better, stronger business.

5 Innovative Apps for Internet and Online Businesses

GetAppAdvanced apps for internet and online businesses are being built to handle the specific challenges that multi-channel retailers face, with features like recurring billingwebsite monitoring, landing page optimization, order processing, and even affiliate tracking.

In many cases, these tools can help internet and online businesses improve operations and streamline company workflows.

 

Yesterday GetApp’s Stephanie Miles published this article naming Fusebill as one of Five Innovative Apps for Internet and Online Businesses. Shopify, HasOffers, LightCMS, and New Relic were also named.

Read the rest of the article

 

What’s your maturity level?

The Subscription Management Maturity Model is a framework that once complete, will help subscription based businesses not only asses their current situation but build a “growth chart” for the future.

Subscription Management Maturity Model

Following fictitious company “Acme” through the five stages described below should give you an idea of your businesses maturity level.

Stage 1 – Manual

ACME Inc. started as a home based business but has now moved into office space with a small team. Joe and Rita handle all of the billing using Excel spreadsheets, sticky notes, and paper invoices. Rita is great at remembering to update the spreadsheets but Joe is not only the owner but the lead sales person, and he isn’t always as meticulous. Though they have a billing clerk who comes in a few mornings a week, Joe and Rita know there are customers who aren’t up to date on their payments but they aren’t sure who, or how much they owe and renewals are often missed.

Stage 2 – Systematic

ACME Inc. now has a gateway which makes Rita very happy as they are now able are able to do basic recurring billing such as charge a credit card every month. They still have to do invoices by hand but they’ve seen enough growth that they can now expand their billing team for manual processes and handle customer calls. Because it’s so difficult to test different prices or even to offer discounts or coupons without getting IT involved, they often just don’t bother,  even though they know they should. Joe has no real insight into how his business is doing because reports are inaccessible or unattainable so he makes a lot of guesses.

Stage 3 – Configurable

ACME Inc. has now moved to a recurring billing and payments provider, so  they have now have access to lots of recurring billing features. Their invoicing has all been automated, they can create, track and manage pricing changes and they’re even offering free trials.

Manual processes and errors are way down, the billing team is smaller and more efficient and revenue leakage is down from almost 5% of monthly revenue to 1%. Joe has easy access to real time analytics like churn, ARPU, MRR, and can now make the types of decisions that are resulting in substantial growth. ACME Inc. is still having trouble with customer communications and they face daily frustrations due to the fact they are using a few different systems which don’t work together very well.

Stage 4 – Standardized

ACME INC. have standardized everything to one platform that supports all of their subscription billing. Rita can‘t believe the difference between where they are now and where they were when the company started. They have a  fantastic, automated communications tracker which not only takes care of their lifecycle emails from Welcome emails, to payment and renewal reminders, to upsell,  and cross sell. Customers are staying longer, buying more and are happy enough with the service and support to recommend ACME to their friends . They’ve also integrated everything so all of their information is in one place, so no one has to manually move information from one system to another, and everyone has access to the information they need when they need it.

Stage 5 – Insightful

Since adding business intelligence to their customer billing practices, ACME INC has now reached the highest level in subscription model maturity. No longer do reporting and analytics use billing data in isolation and with this change ACME are seeing rapid increases in revenue as churn is reduced and CLV increased. Joe now knows (or can easily find) everything possible about his business, his products, and his customers. ACME INC is thriving with a growing, happy, customer base.

Take our SurveyLast call to help us gather information for our maturity; please take a few minutes to fill out our survey!

What would you do with more time? Part 1

Fusebill automates all of your billing processesTwo things almost everyone can agree there is never enough of are time and money, so we weren’t really surprised when we asked our customers what they liked best about Fusebill and so many replied with “the time it saves us”. When we asked them to be more specific, we discovered that most of the time they saved fell into one of four billing categories. In this four part series we’ll look at each of these categories from a time save perspective. Oh and Fusebill also saves you money, but that’s another post!

4 billing categories:

  1. Charging
  2. Collecting
  3. Customer Service
  4. Reporting

Charging

- By seamlessly integrating invoiced customers and credit card customers, Fusebill automates all of your billing processes.

- Fusebill lets you accept credit cards online quickly – without the hassles and risks of PCI compliance. You can also accept recurring payments in cash, checks and wire transfers and process debit, echecks, and ACH payments.

- By setting up billing for each customer only once, you save countless amounts of time that otherwise would have been spent performing the same task over and over each month.

- Easily maintain account balances for pre-payments, late payments and adjustments.

- Robust tax management features let you fully configure two-level tax management, apply taxes differently for each charge in your pricing bundle, manage exemptions, and easily export transactions to form an audit log.

- Price using one-time, recurring, usage and volume based plans. Automate one time or ongoing discounts, coupons, and free trials.

- Fusebill Secure turns your mobile phone into a point of sales (POS) device. The first credit card acceptance app especially designed for subscription and other recurring payment based businesses, it significantly reduces the paperwork and follow up required by similar solutions that are payment collection applications only and don’t create customers and subscriptions with recurring billing.

 We have two employees managing declines of credit cards for our memberships. That’s two full time resources dealing with these all day long. We needed to automate the entire process from sign up to follow up and found Fusebill. Within a week we were up and running. We can now use those resources for selling!! Great team, awesome support = so happy! - Spencer

 If we’ve missed your favourite ‘charging’ time saver, let us know in the comment section.

Stay tuned for part two – ‘Collecting’.

Fusebill + Salesforce=Success!

If billing is now a partFusebill Connect of the customer lifecycle, it goes without saying it’s also part of the customer experience in a way it never was in the traditional one-off sales. In the subscription model, after the initial sale (contract signing or quick sign-up on a website), there is a lot of activity and focus that needs to be placed on growing the customer relationship. The fact a customer has signed up once does not mean you will be able to retain them, sell them other products, or upsell them (expand their usage) and make sure they are getting the most value from your product.

Since one of the most common interactions that customers have with a subscription service is a billing related issue (everything from creating an account, ordering, making payments, receiving invoices, etc.) bridging the gap between your CRM and your billing system can bring significant benefits not just to your customer experience and customer lifetime value, but across your organization as well.

Last week we held a webinar that looked at these issues and introduced Fusebill Connect, our Salesforce CRM integration application. A two-way integration (changes made in one system update the other), With Fusebill Connect you can create accounts, manage subscriptions, and view customer information without leaving Salesforce CRM.

No one will have to duplicate information in both services or make manual updates from one to another because the account synchronization means new customers created in Fusebill are automatically sent to Salesforce CRM with Fusebill account fields and subscription data. Information for existing customers such as status, balance, subscription setting and subscription cancellations is also synchronized.

Accounts are synchronized so new customers created in Fusebill are automatically sent to Salesforce CRM with Fusebill account fields and subscription data.

And changes to existing customer accounts are also synchronized to Salesforce CRM. This includes customer information, status, balance, subscription setting and subscription cancellations.

If you missed this presentation you can view the slides on SlideShare, watch a recording, or download the PDF.

Or, you can schedule a walkthrough and have one of our experts show you our new features and other benefits of Fusebill.

Find out about upcoming webinars!