Adopting the subscription model can be cost-effective for businesses and highly convenient for customers. However, it’s difficult to launch or maintain any subscription-based e-commerce business without a solid billing system in place. After all, you need to be able to keep track of all the transactions to maintain a steady revenue stream and ensure that your customers have the most positive experience with your business.
Unfortunately,hiring more people or developing a brand new system can use up plenty of time and financial resources—things that some businesses like startups may not always have.Luckily, there are now highly versatile software as a service (SaaS)-based programs that can automate your subscription billing process. This even has the benefit of being able to help you reduce costs and help you maximize your available manpower.
However, there are now many choices out there, with different combinations of features to address different needs and budgets. To help you choose the right one, we’ll get you acquainted with three key features that your subscription billing platform should definitely have.
Effective Payment Failure Management
Any billing system needs to be capable of managing credit card payment failures. After all, payments can be declined due to quite a number of reasons. This includes insufficient funds, expired cards, withheld authorizations, and other types of declines. If not managed properly, customers can be lost for good, while your company can be perceived as having bad customer service.
Great subscription billing platforms effectively manage credit card errors and decline rates through retry schedules and automated customer communication. Scheduled retries are sometimes enough when customers reload their accounts beforehand. But for more complicated issues, a good billing software can also automatically send emails. These can notify customers of the reasons for payment failures and urge them to do the necessary actions to complete the transaction. The result is a more reliable collection process that minimizes churn rates and maximizes customer retention.
Robust and Reliable Security
With major security breaches now becoming huge headline stories, you want to make sure that you don’t put your company’s and your customers’ data at risk. First and foremost, keep in mind that all the data in aSaaS-based system is usually stored outside your company’s network. This makes it important to look at all your potential supplier’s background and make sure that they use the usual protective firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and more.
Of course, the program itself should have a robust set of security features. Some important ones you should look out for include an easy backup process, built-in data segregation, and strong encryption techniques (such as SSL or TLS). Never look down on the importance of security. After all, any online security breach can become a PR nightmare that could irreparably damage your company’s reputation.
Efficient Automated Invoicing
For any automated billing system to work, it needs to easily invoice your customers for upcoming, missed, and other related payments. This is a must-have for guaranteeing efficient collection rates. Meanwhile, it should also be able to show you past invoices in a clear and easy manner—helping your accounting department keep track of your sales.
Most importantly, your subscription billing platform should be smart enough to work with minimal input, allowingit to create, schedule, and send invoices to customers according to pre-determined times. If you’re looking to have a rewards system in place, then you should also make sure that the program you choose can easily provide discounts or rebates on selected products or services.
Beyond simply accepting all major credit cards and alternative modes of payment, your ideal billing system should be able to manage payment failures, secure all your data, and provide automated invoicing. With these three features in mind, you can now go and choose the right subscription billing platform to help you get the most out of your business.