For consumers, a late payment isn’t such a big deal, particularly if there’s no penalty fee, which was the case in 2020 during COVID. Hoping to give people a break who were suffering financially, U.S. companies across a wide range of industries waived late fees, suspended service disruption and reduced subscription fees. Internet providers were even offering (for a limited period of time) free Wi-Fi access.
While these gestures were generous and sometimes grand, it is an unsustainable practice—for any business—when considering the true cost of a late or skipped payment. In the U.K. and France, there was an 87% increase in late payment and a 70% increase in the rest of Europe, with business-to-businesses invoices alone costing companies $50 billion. Surprisingly, the cost of sending a paper invoice (from any country) can range between $15-$40 depending on company size, not to mention phone call follow-ups and credit card processing fees, which can run up to $10 per transaction.
Under normal circumstances, this impacts both consumers and companies in a variety of ways. While fees can add up to hundreds and thousands of dollars per year for the individual, they can make cashflow and investments unpredictable for a company—and cause a domino effect to its dedicated vendor or partner suppliers waiting for payment.
Reminders are undoubtedly the best way to help ensure payments arrive on time, and there has never been more options and channels for sending them. At IntelePeer, we work with company decision makers, as well as customer service and IT professionals to help them automate everything from invoices and follow-up reminders to payment processing and fraud alerts via SMS and voice. With our secure CPaaS platform, we enhance billing processes with self-service options and conveniences that empower customers, who can sign up for invoice reminders, check account balances and pay bills on time. At the same time, our technology can help internal teams stay informed and up to date by automating specified recurring tasks, reminding them to submit expense reports, fill out time cards and notify them when their paycheck is coming. To increase security, our solutions enable businesses to implement two-factor authentication to verify customer identification, blocking 99.9% of automated attacks. Finally, in order to measure customer satisfaction, companies can send out automated surveys and gather feedback about the new billing and payment processes while using analytics to gain insight into customer preferences to improve the payment process, forecast the future and provide new revenue opportunities.
Numerous studies show that consumers increasingly prefer to engage with a business via text or email and appreciate reminders that are passive but positive in nature. With automation now widely available—and more businesses experiencing overdue invoices—there is no better time than the present to implement a solution that will increase customer compliance with payments while keeping the flow of cash moving forward in the black.