As a sports fan, especially my hometown Miami Heat and Miami Dolphins teams, I often think in terms of sports metaphors when it comes to business. Here’s one for you: Digital payments are a way for companies to score a hat trick, which is when one player smashes three goals in one hockey or soccer game.
In an increasingly mobile and digital world, electronic payments improve the experiences of three key constituents—customers, employees and suppliers. Better business experiences, especially versus the competition, attract and keep customers as well as high-performing employees and vendors.
To learn more about the future of digital consumer and B2B payments, check out a recent executive roundtable that I participated in. It was sponsored by digital AP leader Finexio, which we’ve partnered with to offer ExpressoAP. Expresso AP digitally transforms account payables into a B2B AP payments-as-a-service. For account receivables, our electronic bill presentment and payments platform ExpressoPay® enables companies to meet consumer expectations for making online, automated phone and mobile wallet payments. Please watch the roundtable here.
B2C Payments – Boost consumer engagement
Remove barriers to payment by going where your customers are–online. Electronic payments for monthly bills have overtaken phone calls and mail, according to the ACI Worldwide Pulse Survey, which polls thousands of consumers every six months. In the second half of 2021, 51% of consumers made payments on biller websites. While mail and customer service representatives remain popular for paying bills, consumers in the ACI survey also regularly use:
- Biller mobile apps—25%
- Bank website–28%
- Bank mobile app–14%
- Interactive voice response (IVR) phone system–16%
Best practices in customer experience include self-service, choice, convenience and ease of use. For growing numbers, those qualities can be found in mobile and digital options. But not for all. To effectively compete for consumer business, companies need to offer a variety of payment channels and methods, including ACH, credit/debit card, PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay and more.
B2B Payments – Simplify vendor interactions
U.S. account payables are not only far behind U.S. account receivables in the move to digital, but also trailing many international companies that have embraced electronic B2B AP. To continue attracting the best vendors and partners, U.S. companies need to offer a more consumer-like payment experience.
Like consumers, vendors are looking for choice and convenience. For some, that could include the option to be paid faster in exchange for a small discount on their total fees. Others will continue to prefer physical checks even as more opt for digital, so omnichannel capabilities and automation are key.
Going digital benefits both payers and vendors, not the least because it expedites processing to ensure on-time payments that comply with contract terms. With 3 out of 4 organizations dealing with check fraud every year, electronic transactions are secure and reliable.
Improve employee work life
Eliminating manual and time-consuming AR and AP tasks significantly increase operating efficiency and employee productivity. Companies can reduce costs to pay suppliers by up to 75% while freeing up 84% of AP staff time related to supplier payments, according to Finexio. Employees can then focus on higher-value responsibilities.
For greater control, flexibility and ease of use, some leading companies integrate consumer billing and other financial communications with electronic payments on a single system. This consolidated approach makes it easier for employees to manage the entire process and adjust quickly as business conditions and needs change.
Companies coping with legacy and disconnected systems don’t need to make massive IT investments to add digital AP and AR payments. They can move and scale quickly by partnering with cloud-based managed services that offer digital B2B and/or B2C payments.
The reasons to move forward are clear and compelling. Digitally transforming payments delivers better experiences for important stakeholders, improves operations and opens up new business opportunities. In honor of the recent running of the Kentucky Derby, I’ll liken it to another great and celebrated sports phenomenon: It’s like hitting a trifecta.