Digitizing payments: Change at your customer’s pace

The digital-payment transition works best when financial services providers start slow and gradually build trust.

Financial institutions must find a way to not only create a path toward digitalization for their business customers, but also help make existing payment processes more efficient. The ideal payment solution is easy to use, maximizes automation and minimizes disruption to existing processes, policies and infrastructure.

Your business customers are actively seeking payment solutions. In a recent study, Deluxe and our industry partner Aite-Novarica Group found that more than 75% of small businesses look for flexible payment options when selecting a new bank partner. Banks can use digital payments to set themselves apart from the competition by offering a complete set of payment solutions for all use cases.

To prepare your business customers for a digital transformation, your bankers need to be familiar with all of your payment solutions and understand the best solution for each business client’s specific use case.

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For example, a bank may offer an ACH payment solution that works well in one use case, but not in others. By offering multiple digital payment solutions, you can cover a broader spectrum of use cases. Once you’ve assessed your bank’s current payment offerings, identify any gaps and advocate with your internal stakeholders to offer a full tool kit of payment solutions.

Select the right vendor partnership

Digital payments are one of the most important parts of any business’s adaptation plan. Maintaining a strong position as a trusted business partner in payments is critical to your bank’s success—as is selecting the right technology partner. The ideal partner is an innovative solution provider with a proven track record who will support both you and your business customer.

Here are some questions you can ask when assessing a new payments vendor:

  • What are the strengths of your payment solution?
  • Are there any areas where your solution doesn’t provide full coverage?
  • Is your solution complementary to the solutions that I already offer?
  • Can you scale and provide the support that I need?

Best practices for successful digitization

When it comes to implementing a new digital payment solution with your business customers, it’s best practice to offer a solution that doesn’t require a lot of integration effort or education. Very few businesses want to try an unproven solution and scale with all their payments.

Start by offering a solution to a specific subset of use cases so that your business customer can try a product with low risk. Businesses are not inclined to make a large investment or change their existing practices until they see a solution work.

Some digital-payment solutions require substantive, meaningful investment in terms of both integration into software and process change. That’s a big leap for a business to make. By nurturing this digital relationship with low-risk use cases, you prove that you are the right banking partner and that you understand that your business customers may not be comfortable making the digital transition in one leap.

Another best practice is to use testimonials from businesses that have benefited from your product offering. Your business customers don’t want to hear guarantees that your solution will work—they want to hear about the experiences of similar businesses, especially from businesses of similar size or vertical.

Today you can offer a suite of solutions that don’t require fundamental changes to your business clients’ existing processes or systems. These bridge-like payment solutions give businesses the benefits of digital payments without the added stress of implementation costs and increased risk. You can position your bank as a trusted payments partner by understanding your business customers’ specific payment needs and supporting them through every step of digitization.

These best practices will strengthen your existing business customer relationships, increase your revenue and bring in new clients.

Chris Clausen is executive director of digital payment solutions at Deluxe Corporation.