In an earlier blog we’ve talked about abandoned payments. But besides abandoned payments, sooner or later, every organization also has to deal with failed payments. Traditionally, the finance department follows up on these. But is that really desirable? If you want to foster customer focus, you should handle all payment processes and credit management in your CRM. In this blog post, we’ll discuss why that’s the case and how to go about it.
No two failed payments are the same
First, let’s have a look at the most common causes of failed payments organizations usually deal with:
- Insufficient funds or credit limit reached
- Account closed or card canceled
- Transaction disputed by payer
- Technical issue with transaction
It is important to differentiate between these different reasons, as some might require a more delicate touch from your customer contact center than others. A transaction dispute, for instance, might indicate a problem with your product or service, or the customer might just not agree with the amount or the timing of the transaction.
While the transaction code tells you what happened, it doesn’t tell you the full story. For that, we need to take the full customer profile into consideration. Are there any outstanding issues such as open cases? Are they a new customer? Is there a history of missed payments?
Making sure you have the full picture can be a time-consuming process. Especially if the data has to come from different systems or even departments. This delay might cause you to miss the optimal window to follow-up with your customer.
The best way to address this issue is by making sure all your data is in one place. And since the CRM system typically has a full history of your customer lifecycle, it makes sense to pull the payments data into the CRM as well.
And of course, doing all follow-up manually might work if you only face a very limited number of failed payments, but for most organizations this is not a feasible option, so automation is required here to make this a practical and efficient process.
But there’s another reason why you’ll want to go through the process in Salesforce. Once you’ve figured out why a payment failed, you need to determine the right engagement method and message. This type of segmentation is crucial for relationship management purposes.
Make payments personal! But why?
Good relationship management is about putting the customer first. You should have a 360-degree view of each customer, so you can appropriately communicate with them.
Suppose a customer is in arrears with payment for the first time in 12 years. In that case, you probably don’t want to hire a debt collection agency right away. But if a customer is in arrears with payment for the fourth time this year, you might adopt a more strict approach.
A customer contact center will also benefit from direct access to a customer’s payment information. If someone calls to ask if their (late) payment has been processed, agents can easily retrieve this information. Not only can they answer questions right away, they’ll also know how to communicate with an individual customer. After all, they can quickly glance over their payment history, which helps them determine the most appropriate communication style in this context.
In a nutshell, that’s what personalizing follow-up messaging means!
Why opt for an automated solution?
As an organization, you want your invoices to be paid as soon as possible. So, in the case of failed payments, it’s important to follow up swiftly. An automated solution can help you do that, since it provides quick insights and thus helps you act fast.
Every cancellation costs money and requires you to send the customer a reminder. If you have to write each letter separately, it takes a lot of time. If you set up automated — yet personalized — reminders, you’ll work much more efficiently.
If a customer hasn’t paid for a product or service, you don’t want to lose them. And it’s important to give them a good reason to pay the outstanding invoice as soon as they can. So, when communicating about failed payments, you should remind them of why they’ve become a customer in the first place. To do so, you’ll need access to all their information — which is of course stored in your CRM.
When discussing failed payments with a customer, you’ll want to help them pay the invoice ASAP. If you use Einstein in Salesforce (an AI feature), you can check their payment behavior and adjust your reminders accordingly. Suppose a customer usually pays on Wednesdays around 7 p.m. In that case, you can send them reminders every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. To use Einstein in this way, though, you need to handle payments in Salesforce!
Facilitate the payment experience: the added value of options
To increase your chances of getting (late) invoices paid, you should facilitate the payment experience from A to Z. What’s crucial is to include a call to action in all communications. This means you shouldn’t just tell customers you’ll try and deduct the amount again in a few days without offering them an option to pay immediately. You’ll force them to passively wait until you take action, while they might want to adopt a more active attitude. So, make sure your emails contain a payment link that allows the customer to transfer the money right away.
The full customer picture
Would you like to have a 360-degree view of each customer, including their payment history? And do you want to efficiently follow up on failed payments?
FinDock is a payment management solution that is native to Salesforce, which means it helps make each customer profile complete.