By Devon Drennan on April 16, 2015
Pest control companies put customers first — by design and necessity. The entire customer experience – from that first consultation to the treatments themselves — happens inside the customer’s home or place of business.
Well, almost the entire experience. For some pest control companies, payment processing still happens off site.
But for the customer’s sake and yours, it shouldn’t. If you’re not yet processing payments on site with mobile technology, it may be time to switch.
Let’s be clear about what we mean. Mobile payment processing is when your technician, at the point of service, accepts payment and confirms receipt. It’s not the same as having your technician accept a personal check, for example, nor is it the same as customers signing a paper invoice.
Those methods are mere promises of future payment. Checks bounce, even for well-intentioned customers (and get lost by technicians.) The customer may have every intention of paying that bill at the time that he or she signed the invoice, but research indicates that people are less likely to pay for a service after the service is completed. (When money’s tight, which would you pay first: the mortgage or the bill for an already-complete extermination job?)
Debt collection costs businesses both short and long term. Up front, it’s money that doesn’t make it into your pocket. Collection agencies usually won’t get involved until a payment is 90 to 120 days past due, and when they do step in, expect them to take from 20 percent to as much as 50 percent of the money owed once they track it down.
And even in the best-case scenario, when payment is received on-time, payment processes still take time. When you’re getting paid weeks or a month after performing a service, you’re effectively loaning the customer money, interest-free.
Mobile payment processing eliminates that time gap. Your service technician is right there in front of the customer when the job is done. He or she simply uses a tablet or smartphone to capture the necessary financial information (typically a credit or debit card) and the payment is made in moments.
Other mobile payment advantages include:
PayPal is perhaps the most popular and trusted platform for implementing mobile payment processing. The company processed $64.3 billion in total transactions in the fourth quarter of 2014 alone, and it processes payments in more than 100 currencies in 203 markets around the world.
And when PayPal’s new service, PayPal Here, is integrated into any number of GoCanvas mobile apps specializing in replacing paper-based business documentation — think work orders, invoices, sales agreements, etc. — you have an incredibly powerful means of optimizing your company’s cash flow. With PayPal Here, you can use a card reader plugged into your technician’s phone or just input the customer’s card (or, yes, even check) information into the app.
Even if you’re already using PayPal to process payments online, you’ll find that processing payments through a mobile app will save you money. The transaction fee with PayPal Here is only 2.7 percent per card swipe. Compare that with 3.5 percent plus 15 cents per transaction when keyed in directly via a desktop computer (or phoned into the office by a tech).
Of course, when you’re dealing with people’s private financial information, it is critical that you use a reliable platform with trusted security provisions in place — and your customers will definitely demand that reassurance. With just a little coaching, your technicians will have no trouble explaining that it’s as safe as using a credit card at their favorite store.
You also need to weigh your use of mobile payment processing against other payment methods. If you have an established client base that pays by traditional methods, and you know you can count on their business, they may resist the change. With new customers, especially younger generations that are tech native, many expect the option to pay via a mobile device.
How can you make both client bases happy? A good solution is to make on-site payment an option for existing customers, but one you frame as a convenience for them. Train your technicians for how they’ll talk to customers about on-site payment. Give them a script. (Example: “I can run your credit or debit card right here, Mrs. Johnson, and then we’ll be all set.”) For new customers, set the expectation of mobile payment from the beginning: Have your scheduler explain your payment policies up-front, and include information on your web site.
The easiest way to get started is to download a GoCanvas mobile application that includes mobile payment, like the Exterminator Service Slip. Then, you can add a mobile payment option to your app by integrating your PayPal account. You can get started in less than thirty minutes.
Ultimately, you’ll likely have the same realization as other industries embracing mobile payment processing: Why wait 30 days for a payment, or waste time chasing one down that’s 90 or 120 days late, when you can get it within minutes of a job being finished?