3 tips to get the customer journey right
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By Viresh Harduth
In a world where your customers are pressed for time, being easy to deal with is one of the best ways for your small business to set itself apart from the rest.
This isn't just about how slick and pleasant your sales and service are – it's also about how you remove friction from the customer experience regarding the purchasing, payments and billing process.
Making life easy for your customers in those processes will benefit your business, too. Your customers are more likely to use your business again if it's quick and convenient to interact with you. Streamlining invoicing and payments can also help you get paid faster – a key benefit at a time when Sage research shows that 22 percent of small business respondents in South Africa are worried about cash flow and liquidity.
Here are three ways to make life better for your customers and yourself:
Offer different payment methods
Make it easy for your customers to pay how they prefer, whether that's cash, card or a bank transfer. Some payment providers let you add a 'pay now' button to an electronic invoice so customers can pay using instant EFT, card or mobile wallet without needing to input your bank details. You will benefit from faster payments, fewer forgotten invoices, and less time following up on missed payments.
Few things annoy customers more than receiving an invoice that is inaccurate or hard to understand. Automating your invoicing process with accounting software can help you avoid the errors that may creep in during manual processing.
Just select a customer, choose the products or services they bought, and send an invoice. You are well on your way to getting paid. With an automated system, you'll be on top of details such as how the invoice relates to a quote you gave the customer, Pro-forma invoicing, and customer payment and credit terms. You can also instantly see which invoices have been sent, which are unpaid and which are overdue.
Bundle goods and services
Depending on what you're selling, putting together pricing bundles can be a great strategy. An example of this is a consumer electronics shop that puts together a package including a high-value camera, an extra lens, and accessories like the camera bag and memory cards. Doing this can be a real time saver for the customer while helping you move stock.
Bundled pricing creates the perception of value for money for customers with the most typical needs or tastes. They increase the transaction size without necessarily increasing your company's costs. They make it easy for customers to buy all-in-one solutions without needing to think too deeply about mixing and matching various products.
There's everything to gain and nothing to lose by considering the entire customer journey with your business – including making payments as easy as possible. Thanks to the evolution of modern software, all this could take only a few hours to implement.
Viresh Harduth, Vice President, Small Business, Sage Africa & Middle East
*The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL or of title sites
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