The Importance Of Phone Payment Automation For Business Improvement and Cash-Flow Acceleration

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that automating processes significantly helps a company’s efficiency, resiliency, and security. Moreover, it also helps the bottom line, as automating payment processes improves a company’s financial operations in the form of improved receivables with fewer late or missed payments as well as being a more cost-effective way of meeting Payment Card Industry (PCI) security requirements.

Almost all businesses are familiar with accepting payments over the phone, but for this article, we will focus on how automating phone payments can contribute to security, revenue collection acceleration, cost savings, staff efficiency and the qualitative benefits of going automated.

#1 Security

Any business that accepts payments by credit card are required to be PCI Compliant, a security standard that is focused on securing credit card information. An important first step towards PCI compliance is to remove live staff from handling credit card information. PCI compliance within the workplace can be quite challenging to implement and manage thereby increasing the security risk to the business of staff handling sensitive credit card data. Therefore, implementing automated processes that are designed to remove such risk should be evaluated as part of an overall security strategy, that is focused on ensuring that businesses are processing card data securely.

An IVR Payments solution – which automates the collection of credit card information over the telephone – removes the live agent component from the card data collection process thus helping to reduce the security risk while helping to achieve PCI compliance. It’s important to note that the IVR must also be PCI compliant, thus the importance of selecting an IVR solution that has been specifically designed for payments. It is also important to consult with your merchant service provider or a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) so that they can assist you with determining what are the specific PCI compliance requirements for your specific payment environment and businesses processes.

#2 Accelerate Revenue Collection

An important key to business success is the ability to accelerate revenue collection, i.e. the time from when the service is delivered to when the payment is received. With IVR Payments technology, both the business and the customer benefit. The business benefits in the form of being able to offer multiple, secure payment channels that encourage customers to pay in the manner that is quickest, easiest and most convenient for them thus removing any friction in the payment process and accelerating invoice to cash time. With an automated IVR Payments system that is available 24/7, customers need only to pick up the phone and dial a number at a time of their choosing. Studies have shown that 30-40% of customers prefer to be able to pay bills outside of standard business hours (i.e. evenings and weekends) and having payment options that maximize their convenience encourages prompt bill payments thus contributing to a key objective of all businesses which is accelerating invoice-to-cash time.

#3 Cost Savings Per Payment

When moving from manual processing to payment automation, one of the best measures of cost savings is to figure out the cost saving per payment.

According to the Institute of Finance & Management report, companies on average spend close to $9.00 to process one invoice payment. Whereas when a company utilizes automated processes, the cost per invoice is only $1.77 per invoice (which includes the payment collection and other account reconciliation processes) an 80% cost reduction, not including the cost of labor.

#4 Saving On Labour

Labour costs are a bit trickier to calculate, but you’ll likely be surprised at the total cost of paying staff for a task that can be automated (and that’s without taking into account the aforementioned vastly improved payment security realized in the process as well). To get a better idea, look at how many people it takes per week to process payments manually. Then calculate the hours spent on the task of manually collecting payment information over the phone vs. the less than $1.00 it costs to collect the same information via payment automation. With IVR Payments you are able to automate the phone call answering, account look-up, payment processing and payment posting, so all these functions should be factored into the analysis.

Moreover, that precious time saved can now be spent on tasks that involve growing other areas of the business that may have previously been given short shrift by the time needed to process payments and that staff may find more interesting and engaging.

#5 Qualitative Benefits To Going Automated

Deloitte and Blue Prism wrote a report that highlighted the qualitative benefits to automation. Contrary to what people generally associate with A.I. and automation, there were considerable benefits realized both for the business AND their employees.

For example:

Improved customer experience: Automation enables organizations to make better use of customer data to improve customer experiences by anticipating their needs.

Greater return on human capital: Automation creates new organizational capacity, which can be redeployed towards tasks that are more complex and/or of more value to the business. For example, an employee manually taking payments by phone can shift his or her focus to following up on at risk accounts.

Acceleration of innovation within an organization: Automation can trigger organizations to make big bets in next-generation intelligent automation workforce capabilities and enable the entire organization to become better at adopting a test and learn mentality and quickly identifying new use cases to monetize. More revenue streams mean a more stable overall business framework which means improved job security.

What’s Next For Businesses?

Whether we like it or not, the future of business is going to involve more automation. Businesses large and small need to prepare themselves to scale the stage that needs to be set for success, which includes digitizing services that are currently being done manually. In this day and age, one would be hard pressed to come across a report from a credible source that that highlights the benefits of manual processing any more than one can expect to find one urging farmers to abandon combines and tractors in favor of draught animals. Going automated will – among other benefits – improve security, cut costs, allow for growth and boost employee morale.

Learn more about how IVR Payments can help you automate your by phone payment acceptance, become more efficient and secure. Contact Us Today

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