Western Union Payments

Why Strong Reporting is Key to a Good Payment Strategy

Find out why strong reporting capabilities are an essential part of your business’s payment strategy.

Whether or not they’re aware of it, businesses gather valuable information about their customers — from where they live to how much they spend — every time someone submits a payment.

With the right tools, this data can be leveraged to improve a company’s payments strategy and strengthen its bonds with customers.

“Billers typically have a wealth of information about their customers in their customer accounts receivables systems, including information about customer payment behavior,” says Rob Unger, senior director at NACHA, The Electronic Payments Association.

With this data, billers can develop metrics that help identify trends regarding their customers’ payment behaviors. Understanding these trends will reveal which kinds of payment features work best within defined demographic categories and regions — helping billers refine customer service offerings, marketing campaigns and profitability.

To successfully leverage a company’s payments data, all of the information must first be organized and analyzed. Consider partnering with a payments provider whose system integrates seamlessly with the business and allows instant access to the data.

The program should be able to create conveniently formatted, customizable reports and graphs that paint the full picture of a company’s payment activity and highlight any payment glitches or anomalies.

Beyond improving a company’s bottom line, these insights can also improve customer relations. “There are payment behaviors that would be indicative of what type of person a customer is,” Unger says. “That can help companies determine what kind of features and offerings they should provide.”

For example, a report may reveal that a customer is submitting online bill payments, which indicates the customer is comfortable with online interactions. However, the customer may still be receiving a paper bill. Now that the company knows this, it can send the customer a targeted, relevant message enticing him or her to consider the convenience of electronic billing — and avoid bothering customers for whom that message doesn’t make sense. By putting its data to work, a company can learn whether sending a payment reminder five days before a bill is due works better for a given customer than sending the reminder two days before it’s due.

Effective reporting can also help companies identify trends in how customers like to pay or gauge whether a specific payment platform is catching on. If the data reveals that customers are using mobile payment channels in droves, for example, that may signal an opportunity for a company to invest more time and money into refining those options.

With proper data collection and analysis, billers can use their resources more strategically, while offering customers enhanced messaging, self-service offerings and interactions. As Unger putts it, “Information is very powerful.”