If you want to gain the maximum possible benefit from your cash collections, then it’s important to convince as many customers as possible to make the switch to Direct Debit.

Businesses decide to offer Direct Debits as a payment option for many reasons: these include security, efficiency, speed, less failed payments, and most importantly improved control and visibility of customer payments and when cash is due. To make Direct Debit successful, you need to encourage as many customers as possible to adopt this payment method.

However, if your customers are happy with their current way of paying, it can be difficult to convince them to pay via Direct Debit. Below are several benefits that we suggest highlighting to your customers, to get them to make that switch!

Highlight the major benefits early

Offering new customers the option of paying via Direct Debit is much easier than convincing those on other payment methods to switch. A summary of the key benefits being:

  • It’s convenient
  • It allows customers to spread the cost of your product or service over time, on a date that suits them
  • It offers peace of mind that no bills are missed and penalties avoided
  • It can be cheaper to pay via Direct Debit due to incentives for using this method
  • It is backed by the Direct Debit Guarantee, offering immediate refund if any disputes arise.

Because of this, it makes sense to ensure that as many of your new customers as possible agree to pay by Direct Debit upfront. Highlight that Direct Debit is the most prominent payment option when people are signing up for your services and create some short, compelling copy to sell the benefits of Direct Debit to your new customers.

This work, combined with the incredible brand recognition of Direct Debit, will ensure that the number of customers using it will quickly increase.

Security benefits are key

One of the biggest issues for consumers and businesses today is security and risk: the general public is more aware of potential payment fraud and personal data being leaked.

Direct Debit has incredibly robust security with over £100 billion in transaction value processed since being established. Alongside this, the Direct Debit Guarantee offers extra payment protection to all payers.

Taking the time to highlight how secure it is compared to alternative payment methods will help customers feel more at ease about making the switch.

Make signing-up simple

Finding the time to switch payment methods can be a large stumbling block when convincing customers to switch to Direct Debit payments. After all, why invest the extra time to switch if you’re happy with how you pay at the moment?

A simple way to help alleviate this is to offer your customers as many options as possible when making the switch.

Direct Debit comes with a wide variety of sign-up methods, including: paper forms, over the phone and online. Giving companies as many options as possible makes the process much more convenient for them and their customers, and is likely to increases the chance of them opting in to make the switch.

Pinpoint their doubts

Your customers may have their reasons for not switching payment methods: Direct Debit can respond to these. Pinpointing these fears or misgivings will give you the best shot at addressing them.

Although this may initially sound like a challenging piece of customer research, it’s actually quite simple. You can create a simple survey to send to the people who currently haven’t switched to Direct Debit, with a few set options exploring why this is the case. This can be done either on your website or by using a free survey platform. Incentivise the survey to offer a small voucher in return for their time to complete it.

From the information gained in this exercise you’ll be able to market the Direct Debit option with key messages that overcome the common fears and obstacles identified.

Tell them it helps you

If you run a small business and you have a close relationship with your customers, a good option is to explain how switching could help your business. You may find that loyal, engaged customers will be happier to switch payment methods in order to help a business they know.

Although best with smaller businesses, this strategy could even work with larger companies, especially if you focus on your most engaged customer base first.

Offer an incentive

The easiest way of convincing people to make payments by your preferred payment method is to offer an incentive to switch.

Energy providers are well known for using this strategy: many offer discounts to customers who choose to pay via a monthly Direct Debit. This simple act of passing on some of the savings you generate from using Direct Debits to your customers is possibly the most effective weapon in your arsenal if you’re struggling to convince people to make the switch. Everyone loves a discount, after all.

Discounts are not your only incentive, however. Every customer base is unique and it’s important to establish something that will resonate most with your audience, whether this is a gift, regular charitable donation or access to exclusive content or offers.

Personalise everything

Whatever you do to convince your customers to pay by Direct Debit, you should personalise each interaction with them as much as you can.

If your business is established, it’s likely you’ll have a large amount of information about your customer base alongside overall profiles of your typical customer groups. Take the time to craft messages specifically for these groups to address their unique concerns head-on: you’ll reach them much more effectively than with a generic message targeted at everyone.

Managing Direct Debits with First Capital Cashflow

If your business has yet to start accepting Direct Debits, the team at First Capital Cashflow can help. We’ve been helping businesses to accept payments by Direct Debit for 17 years, using an innovative, cloud-based Direct Debit collection and management platform to make the process as simple and secure as possible for you.

To learn more about our services you can email at fcc-info@bottomline.com; call us on 0344 8266 700; or fill in our contact form.

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