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How to Increase Your Payment Acceptance Rates by Phone

An important part of the customer experience is the payment process. Of course, you want it to be fast and frictionless for your customers, regardless of the channel they choose. In the case of IVR phone payments, there are some simple strategies you can implement to increase efficiency and improve customer satisfaction.

The Benefits of IVR Phone Benefits

At their best, IVR phone payment systems can simplify the payment process for customers while greatly reducing the need for live agents to accept payments. There are also many other notable benefits that are worth considering when it comes to deploying a self-service voice application that accepts payments.

  • Improved number of timely payments
  • No waiting on hold
  • Multiple languages
  • Always available
  • Ease of use

To gain these valuable benefits, it requires ensuring that this touchpoint is consistent with your overall customer experience. As well, you must be able to overcome the still common perception that self-service payments over the phone are difficult, time-consuming and potentially risky.

The following are a few strategies that can help.

Enable a Frictionless Process

Not all IVR systems are created equal. Better phone payment processing starts with a better IVR payment app. Phone payments can be surprisingly efficient when optimized with a solution, such as Plum’s pre-built IVR payment app, which results in higher completion rates and a significant reduction in customers becoming frustrating and leaving the payment app. Customers will appreciate the secure, 24/7 access to their billing information and payment options available by phone.

With an advanced IVR system, you can enable customers to pay bills in less than 90 seconds with a simple payment process that is optimized for customer success. Customers who have a positive experience when paying by phone tend to continue to use this channel.

Of course, it’s important that customers are made aware of the availability of the voice channel. To increase the use of your IVR for payments, it can be helpful to remind customers of this option during hold messages, in printed bills and online.

Consider IVR Navigation for Making Payments

When customers call to make a payment, they don’t want to have to listen to a long list of options before being routed to the payment app. They also don’t want to sit on hold, be routed to the wrong resource or, even worse, disconnected.

Take the time to “shop” your own IVR system to experience what the customer does. If it’s time-consuming or difficult to navigate, the steps and process need to be simplified. If a large volume of your IVR traffic is making payments, it may even be worthwhile to have a dedicated line or system that is solely for these customers.

Incorporate Your Brand

As part of your customer experience, your phone payment processing experience should be aligned with your overall brand image. The voice, the prompts and other aspects of the interaction require careful thought so that customers consider payment as just one step in a seamless, branded experience.

Make the Payment Secure

All businesses that accept credit cards using an IVR must be Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant. This means you’re responsible for securing customers’ credit card information while collecting and transmitting this data. It also requires that all network servers, routers, CRM software and data storage solutions are also in compliance with PCI security requirements.

With the frequency of high-profile data breaches, it’s important to assure customers of your compliance with these requirements to give them peace of mind. This will also help to increase adoption of IVR as a payment method.

Recognize Returning Customers

It can be cumbersome to enter in account numbers, PINs, routing numbers and other details to make payments. Customers appreciate the convenience of providing this information once and then having it stored securely for future payments. With the latest innovations in IVR technology, this information can be immediately accessed when a customer calls. The application also can remind customers of upcoming payments before they become delinquent, as well as provide account status and generate a payment verification that is sent through the channel that the customers prefers.

Accept a Variety of Payment Types

Customers appreciate choice when it comes to the types of payment they can use when making IVR phone payments. Most IVR payment systems accept credit card (Visa, Mastercard, AMEX, Discover), debit card and ACH (eCheck) transactions.

Some businesses choose to apply convenience fees to both credit card and ACH transactions. Others don’t. Consider your customers and what they are paying for when determining the level of acceptance of a convenience fee. If it’s a goal to increase your payment acceptance rates by phone, it may be wise to either apply only a very nominal fee or none at all.

Last Thoughts

Phone payments continue to be popular with customers for good reason. From the customer’s perspective, they can be more convenient than digital methods, as well as low tech alternatives, such as in-store payments or writing a check and placing it in the mail. And IVR payment processing also offers significant advantages to businesses, including cost-savings and improved customer experience.

The key to maximizing the business and customer benefits is to choose a best-of-breed IVR solution that overcomes the challenges of payment processing systems of the past and delivers the advanced features that ultimately make it easier for customers to make payments.

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