Tips to Reduce Late Payments by Engaging Payers
Suman Chaudhuri, VP, Sales & Revenue, CSG Forte
Late payments are on the rise, and they can weigh down your organization’s growth if they go unaddressed.
Auto loan and credit card delinquencies have bounced back to their pre-COVID rates, and late payments on consumer loans aren’t far behind. With these indicators, merchants in other industries might be right to wonder if they’ll see more missed or late payments—assuming they haven’t already.
Organizations are well aware how late payments can disrupt cash flow. As they add up, they can limit the ability to make the investments needed for growth, from purchasing new equipment, to hiring talent, to ordering inventory. Then there’s the cost of collecting late payments: sending out notices, attempting to call customers, engaging collection agencies, and so on.
Consumers often miss payments due to a lack of funds, but a large chunk of late payments are highly preventable. Among consumers who missed a payment in the previous six months, nearly half said either forgetting about the bill or mixing up the due date were factors, according to a recent survey.
So what can organizations do to help customers pay on time? By keeping them engaged with these approaches.
Make the payment experience as easy as possible
Many late payments result from transaction abandonment, which is a usually fixable problem in the customer’s payment journey. Sometimes the abandonment is accidental: think of how easy it is to get distracted in the process of paying a bill online or over the phone if it requires multiple steps. Other transaction abandonment is deliberate: perhaps the customer became frustrated to learn that they can’t make their payment online, and they put off the task for later.
To reduce transaction abandonment—accidental or otherwise—it’s important to make the payment experience as simple as possible.
Accept multiple payment methods.
You want to ensure most of your customers can use the payment method they most prefer, whether that’s credit/debit card, ACH, digital wallets, and yes, paper checks (55% of U.S. consumers wrote checks in 2022).
Automating regular payments is a win-win for you and your customers. Customers get to put the recurring payment out of mind, and your organization sees fewer late or declined payments. Offering and encouraging auto-pay makes a huge difference. Between April and July 2020, renters failed to make timely rent payments approximately 22% of the time. However, renters who used Rentec’s recurring payment system, powered by CSG Forte, only made late payments 1% of the time.
Allow payments in installments.
Making the payment experience easier can also involve offering a payment plan if your organization can provide that flexibility. Accepting partial or installment payments can be preferable to delinquent payments, and offering installments keeps the customer engaged. The key here is to use a payment solution that enables customers to set up their own alternative payment arrangements easily, without having to call into your call center. The payment terms, installment amounts and due dates also need to be clearly communicated to the customer through the user interface.
Send payment reminders on the customer’s preferred communication channels
The modern consumer has plenty of notifications and due dates competing for their attention. It’s easy for even your most organized customers to forget a payment unless they receive regular reminders. But reminders only matter if customers receive them on communication channels they use. Make sure you can send these automated messages by multiple methods, including email, text and outbound interactive voice response (IVR).
Also consider payment reminders that can integrate with customers’ calendar applications, increasing their visibility as part of your customer’s recurring to-dos. If you can enable seamless payments through your reminder communications, such as offering text to pay, then you’ve not only made it easier for customers to remember their bill, but also pay it in seconds.
CSG Forte Engage, a payer engagement platform, can help simplify your customers’ payment journey in these ways and more, enabling you to minimize late payments and protect your bottom line. Learn more about CSG Forte Engage and start increasing on-time payments today.