Benefits of Online Billing
When a repair on a customer’s vehicle is finished, the process of picking up a car from the shop and paying the bill in one trip can be nearly impossible. While the repair is a huge process, finding the right opportunity to pay the bill in person can often become more complicated; roadblocks such as soccer practice, running errands, or even getting stuck in traffic can push customers back past the time a shop closes.
In order to eliminate stress felt by customers who can’t make it to the shop in time, many shops have resorted in a method that’s accessible, trustworthy and effective for both the shop and customer: online billing.
For shops like St. Matthews Imports, online billing was introduced as a way to create more convenience for customers. Since implementing an online paying system around five years ago, the shop has been able to make customer’s final experience before heading off with his or her car more reliable, secure, and efficient.
“We had customers that needed to pick up their cars at all hours of the day and the night,” says CFO of St. Matthews Imports, Sheila Addington, who runs the shop with her cousin and CEO, Douglas.
Implementing an online payment system can become a beneficial add-on for your shop. Whether customers are unable to make it to a shop in time, are worried about reading personal financial information (such as credit cards) over the phone, or are just looking to pay for a bill without entering the shop—creating an online payment system can offer your customers a renown experience.
Provide all-hour service.
If a customer is unable to make it to the shop before it closes, the customer is faced with taking time out of his or her day to visit the shop another time. By creating an online billing system, customers won’t have to worry about visiting the shop in time for a payment which is a win-win situation for both customers and shops.
“It’s really about convenience for the customers—sometimes traffic is unpredictable,” says Sheila.
Eliminate third-party payment stress.
In the collision repair industry, there could be multiple individuals paying for a specific bill when a customer is involved in an accident. Offering an online payment system can diminish the stress of determining how involved all parties will be in the payment process.
For St. Matthews Imports, online billing has made the billing process easier for those involved in accidents, Douglas says.
“We have a lot of customers who [have] their bill paid for by a third party,” Douglas says. “Their neighbor backed into their car or there’s a third party paying; [online billing] gives that third party convenience because they can pay on the website without having to come into the shop.
“They can make that payment online, they get their receipt, and no one has access to their credit card number.”
If a customer is unable to get to a shop in time to pay a bill, the customer might have to read his or her credit over the phone or have another individual bring it into the shop. By offering an online paying system, customers regain the ability to pay for a bill by themselves—without the worry of a lost card or even misuse of financial information.
Not only can customers feel confident that a payment is secure, but certain websites also require protection measurements in order to offer an online paying option. For St. Matthews Imports, the shop’s website is often tested in order to ensure protection coverage for customer’s financial information.
“There’s security criteria that we have to meet that’s above your traditional website,” Douglas says. “As those have changed over time, we have to adapt to that model and meet those security levels.”
Document payments efficiently.
While every shop records payments differently, there could be instances where a payment isn’t recorded correctly or somehow becomes misfiled. When using an online billing system, information can be handed directly to the front office or administrative staff from the customer— without even stepping foot in the shop.
For St. Matthews Imports, the shop has a strategic way to file customer billing: Once a customer posts a payment, the accounting department is instantly notified, Sheila explains.
“We can go online, talk the customers through it on our website if we need to, but when the transaction is completed, the processing company sends an email out to us to let the customers know the payment has been completed,” Sheila says.