Money Graph

Money Graph (Photo credit: 401(K) 2012)

There are countless business models that utilize recurring billing to some degree or another. Internet service providers, cellular phone companies, content services such as Lexis-Nexis, cloud-based applications, and fitness facilities are just a few examples of businesses that rely on revenue streams that come in monthly, quarterly, or sometimes even annually.

There is nothing new about this, as the subscription based business has been around for quite some time. The first known subscription product actually dates all the way back to the seventeenth century!

But as the marketplace adjusts to the internet age, the development of online recurring billing systems has introduced a powerful growth-generating weapon to add to your business’ arsenal. This powerful technology provides several key advantages over traditional methods in several important areas.

Boost Initial Sales

Anybody who has spent any time in sales knows that there is a window of opportunity when a potential customer decides to make a purchase before they might start to second guess their decision and wind up talking themselves out of the deal – even if it is a product they genuinely need. And if the customer has to call an 800 number, navigate an automated menu system, and potentially be placed on hold before making the purchase, the chances that they will second guess their decision increases exponentially. This effect is even worse if they have to actually physically mail something in and wait for a response.

With an online recurring billing system that is integrated into your business’ website, the customer is able to finalize their purchase on the spot, virtually eliminating the problem of “cold feet” that comes with delays from purchasing decision to purchase finalization. Also, this provides you with an excellent opportunity to inform your customers of additional features and related products that you have to offer, increasing your ability to up-sell and improving profit margins.

Improve Customer Satisfaction

Today’s customers expect their convenience to be a number one priority for any business they spend their money with, and incorporating a solid online recurring billing system into your business’ operations allows you to deliver on this expectation in spades. By removing the need for the customer to take the trouble of calling or mailing your company to sign up for and maintain their subscription, you are able to provide your service or product in a way that fits in with their schedule and time constraints.

Imagine needing to take time away from one’s job to place a phone call just to sign up for a service, or handle a simple feature adjustment. Then imagine being able to handle such a task at a time that is convenient for your schedule. The difference between the two couldn’t be starker, and you can rest assured that your customers will take note of the contrast.

In fact, an argument could be made that today’s customers have become sophisticated to the degree that they not only appreciate the added convenience of online recurring billing but indeed expect it. If your business fails to meet his expectation, there are more than a few potential customers who will seek out a competitor who meets their expectations, even if you offer a superior product and/or service.

On the other hand, providing a consistent level of convenience leads to highly satisfied customers, and satisfied customers become loyal customers – the lifeblood of any business that depends on recurring revenue streams.

Increase Efficiency

Legacy methods of recurring billing weren’t only inconvenient for the customers. They also required a major resource investment on the part of the business. Keeping track of all the logistics of subscriber accounts required staff, and depending on the size of a company’s subscriber base, this could end up being quite a significant number of employees. This caused payroll expenditures to swell, not to mention needing to devote resources to training and supervision, as well as additional space for this staff to work from.

With online recurring billing, your business can manage a virtually limitless number of subscribers without requiring a significant increase in staffing. This allows your company to use more of its precious resources on improving the bottom line, focusing on areas such as marketing, dealing with the more complicated customer service issues in a proactive manner, as well as developing and implementing effective strategies for future growth and product improvements. The impact this freedom has on your business’ current profit margins and future growth simply cannot be overstated.

In short, incorporating an online recurring billing system to your company’s toolkit is an essential part of remaining competitive in the modern marketplace, as well as ensuring that your company is positioned to experience positive grow well into the future.