The field service industry is comprised of many professions from HVAC installers to landscapers to cleaning services. Although the list is quite expansive, they all have the same core beliefs when it comes to their business model — reduce costs, streamline operations, and offer convenience for clients. Looking at the latter, clients expect to be able to manage their appointments with a quick click, including paying for the service.
As the field service industry continues to evolve, automation is everything, especially when it comes to payments. ISVs that can provide an integrated payments solution stand to rise above the competition and offer an end-to-end solution that is certain to grow business and profits exponentially.
Here are five payment trends companies need to succeed in the field.
- Recurring Billing: Often times, field workers have regularly scheduled services, such as lawn maintenance or pool care. Rather than manually invoicing each time, recurring billing allows companies to set up a payment schedule that works for both the client and the provider. When clients “set it and forget it,” monies get debited from the bank account or credit card on file each billing cycle without fail. By automating the payment process:
- Payments come in on time
- Cash flow improves
- Overhead costs are reduced
- Time is saved
- Carbon footprint is minimized (less paper waste)
- Account Updater: Approximately one-third of credit cards experience some type of change annually, whether they expire, become lost or stolen, or get upgraded. Coupled with recurring billing, Account Updater functionality ensures payment information for card-on-file clients is always current while reducing declines, service interruptions, and lost business. If a change occurs, clients don’t have to worry about contacting their service providers to update card data, and the field service company doesn’t need to chase after clients for new information. Everything happens seamlessly in the background. Clients continue to receive services, and businesses continue to get paid.
- Electronic Invoicing: After a service is performed, collecting in-person payments can be challenging. Clients aren’t always at home or on site to pay the invoice. And, even if an invoice is left in a door or mailbox, this increases the chances of it being lost or even swept away by inclement weather. Manual invoices also cost time and money to output – paper, ink and postage expenses, along with employee hours, only increase overhead. Now add to that the time it takes to receive payment and have it clear the bank. Field service companies can avoid lost invoices and late payments with electronic invoicing. With a few simple clicks, clients can be emailed invoices with links to hosted payment pages to make convenient and secure credit, debit or ACH payments.
- Mobile Credit Card Processing: In this day and age, not many people carry cash, but a majority do have a smartphone and a credit card. Field service technicians can benefit from offering a mobile payment solution that accepts credit cards or near field communication (NFC) payments. Using a Bluetooth® credit card reader paired with the field service agent’s smartphone or tablet, clients can easily dip the chip, swipe the stripe, or tap their devices for instant payment.
- Integrated Payments: Some field service companies use multiple software programs to accomplish operational tasks — possibly one for scheduling, one for accounting, and one for payments. Doing so creates inefficiencies and gives way to double-data entry errors and reconciliation issues. An all-in-one software solution with integrated payments resolves these challenges and frees up time for businesses to focus on serving the clients and growing sales. Additionally, an end-to-end solution creates “stickiness” for the software, making it difficult for end users to change software providers if all of their payment data and reporting are in one location.
For the field service industry, operating a business is really about the three C’s: cost, convenience, and competency. Offering integrated payment solutions that can help them control these factors will be the driving force for creating a scalable and competitive field service management product.