If you’ve been following our blog, you will have noticed we have been talking a lot about the best ways to service eCommerce clients and what to look for in eCommerce providers. Today we look at a functionality that underscores eCommerce for both merchants and vendors – billing.
Regardless of what industry your business is in, every business needs an effective and easy way to bill their customers in order to generate revenue and put money back into your bank. While most shopping carts and eCommerce providers offer some form of billing management, there are certain features you should be looking for.
Here are the first five questions to get your started.
Five Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Billing Platform
Can it handle subscription and recurring billing?
This is an important feature for a lot of businesses, and while this should be standard across the board, you’d be surprised to learn that some providers do not offer any subscription billing.
If you are selling any kind of subscription services or taking monthly payments for your service, recurring billing is a must-have feature for your business.
Is it easy to edit subscription and recurring billing details?
Subscription services usually comes with different levels of memberships or subscription plans (for example, Gold, Silver, Bronze). The billing service should therefore be designed to manage updates easily.
Subscription billing is pretty complex and needs to be designed to handle new customers, deal with pro-rated accounts, different billing dates, usage bills, etc. Customers may also want the ability to update their subscriptions and accounts. A versatile billing facility within your eCommerce platform will take your customer service to a new level.
Will it link with your CRM?
Having your billing management and Customer Management System (CRM) on the same platform, or being able to easily and seamlessly link the two together, will make your life much easier. This way the system can auto-update and reconcile payments for client accounts. Missed/dishonored payments will become even easier to check and update.
Can it double up as an HR Platform as well?
Unless you’re a sole trader, you will need a system to facilitate payments to your staff, and a system to handle and keep track of business expenses.
You should look to find a system that offers built-in timesheet and expense management. This way you can run and control your entire business from the one platform.
Does it offer enough logins for your staff?
This feature is often forgotten or left too late when signing up for platforms/systems. Having sufficient staff logins is important when you have a large staff or need several of your staff to access the platform.
If you are planning on running your entire business through the platform, login credentials may be needed for yourself, your finance specialist/admin, IT staff and managers or directors of the company. Having a single login is often a temporary and restrictive solution. Everyone sharing the same login is not really ideal, especially if it is an integrated system, as that can mean that at any point in time, only one staff member can be logged on.
Also, look for systems where you can set different access levels when creating staff logins. This way you can regulate access to confidential or financial business data.
A Final Thought
Subscription or tiered services demand a robust and versatile billing platform that is able to scale with your business. Billing is yet another touchpoint with your customers and it is important to ensure the process they experience at billing is as stress-free as possible.