As many businesses closed their doors to help slow the spread of coronavirus, field service organizations continued to be on the front lines, bringing services to the doorsteps of businesses and consumers. To enhance the safety of employees and customers, field services processes and workflows changed to accommodate limited contact and social distancing. However, even though field services adapted operations out of necessity for health safety, they had the unintended — though not surprising — consequence of providing a better customer experience in the field and more efficient operations. What began as a response to a global health crisis is becoming business as usual, forever changing the landscape of field services payments solutions.
In-Demand Field Service Payment Solutions
Independent software vendors (ISVs) and value-added resellers (VARs) providing solutions to businesses with field teams need to enable their customers to accept these payment types:
Before 2020, many field service organizations didn’t rely on omnichannel payment solutions but instead used paper invoicing or PIN pad transactions for digital payments. To meet consumer demands, your clients may need to accept payments online as well as in person.
Giving field service businesses this capability will enable their employees and customers to limit contact throughout the remainder of the pandemic, but it will continue to provide benefits long term. The business will devote fewer labor hours to invoicing and following up on late payments, and it can also give its customers the option of recurring payments for routine maintenance or regular services.
The ability to accept payments online can also enhance in-person customer service. Consumers’ interest in contactless payments increased during the pandemic. In fact, Mastercard Contactless Consumer Polling found that more than 51 percent of Americans are now using contactless payments. However, contactless or mobile wallet payment transactions require a near-field communication (NFC) card reader, which your clients may not be in a position to budget for at this time.
A touchless alternative to NFC contactless payments is a text-to-pay solution that leverages an online payment page. This technology allows service technicians to generate an invoice at the time of service and then send a link via SMS text messaging to the customer for payment. This link takes the consumer directly to the payment page to pay directly from a smartphone.
It’s convenient for the customer – there’s no need to download an app, and they can have a touchless payment experience even if they don’t have a contactless card or mobile wallet. Also, text-to-pay transactions are PCI-compliant and secure. And, as with all integrated payments, transaction data is automatically shared with the business’ accounting software.
In addition, text-to-pay solutions are beneficial for field service operations that bill on a subscription basis. SMS open rates can be as high as 98 percent and have an average response time of 90 seconds. While email invoice reminders can become lost in overcrowded inboxes, text-to-pay solutions get the customer’s attention.
QR Code Payments
Similar to text-to-pay, field service businesses can also leverage online payment capabilities for QR code payments. Nearly all smartphones now have cameras that recognize QR codes and automatically direct the users to the associated web page. Field service technicians can generate QR codes either with a printer or on the screen of their mobile devices that take customers to a payment page. The customer scans the code and completes the transaction – if payment data is stored on the phone, it only takes a few clicks.
The Future of Field Service Payments
Online payments, text-to-pay and QR codes for field service payments meet consumers’ demands for touchless, convenient payment experiences. These payment methods also benefit operations with greater efficiency and improved cash flow.
Ensure your payments vendor partner supports these payment methods and that you can offer them to your field services clients adapting to new ways of doing business.