Recently, during a sales presentation, I came to the bank draft tab in Logics’ Utility Management application. I asked, as I always do, if they accepted bank drafts. The City Administrator spoke up and said he wished 99% of their customers were bank draft customers. When I asked why not 100%, he replied “There’s always that one percent that won’t do it, no matter how much sense it makes.”
After everyone stopped laughing, one of the office staff asked if I had any ideas how to increase bank draft participation. Interestingly enough, I had just finished the first draft of an ebook entitled 5 Surefire Ways to Save Time Processing Payments. The first of the five ways is bank drafts and the chapter goes on to list five ways to promote bank drafts.
Here they are…
1. Waive the first late fee in exchange for signing up for bank drafts
Whenever a customer calls to complain about being charged a late fee, offer to waive the penalty if they sign up for bank drafts. Once they are a bank draft account, they will never be late again!
2. Offer incentives to sign up
I know of utilities that offer a one-time $5.00 credit for signing up for bank drafts. Others give a $1.00 per month credit for the first year the customer is drafted.
3. Ask every new customer if they want to pay by bank draft
Have you applied for a life insurance policy recently? Insurers practically make issuing the policy contingent upon the insured agreeing to pay by direct debit. Why not deal with new customers applying for service the same way? There’s an age-old adage in sales, “assume the close”, and the same technique can work for signing new applicants up for bank drafts. Why not hand them a bank draft form along with the application to sign?
4. Include a signup form on your website
Ideally, your customers should be able to complete an online form with the bank draft information. But, if not, at least post a downloadable sign-up form on your website so your customers can complete and return it to your office.
5. Promote bank drafts on your utility bill
Does your utility bill have a section for comments you can enter each billing? Why not use this to publicize bank drafts along with whatever other announcements you have that month? If you print full-page bills, you can also include a bank draft sign-up form as an insert with the utility bill.
How do you promote bank drafts?
What does your utility do to promote bank drafts? Do you have a unique or innovative way of encouraging your customers to sign up for bank drafts? Please leave a comment at the bottom of this post for other readers to see.
2017 Utility Fee Survey results
The next Utility Information Pipeline, to be published on July 18, will include the first set of results for the 2017 Utility Fee Survey. The survey technically closed at the end of the day, June 30, but I haven’t started recapping the results yet.
If you haven’t participated and would still like to, you may click here to complete the survey. It should take less than five minutes to complete.
Trying to streamline payment processing?
If you’re looking to reduce the amount of time it takes to process payments, or streamline any other part of your operation, please give me a call at 919-232-2320, or email me at email@example.com for more information about how a business review could help you review your entire office operation.
© 2017 Gary Sanders