“Just two months after my team at Wow 1 Day Painting began using Podium Payments, our Accounts Receivable were reduced to zero.”
-Justin Miller, Franchise Owner WOW 1 Day Painting
By Mario Ernesto Ruiz & Paris Picard
The end of the year is one of the busiest times for businesses and consumers alike. But it’s also a time to clear out as much of your accounts receivable as possible before December 31st and bring in some past-due revenue.
The average American small business has an accounts receivable turnover of 54 days. Anything you can do to make a dent in that can have a huge impact on your bottom line. but even if you started today collecting past due before year-end, traditional methods would leave you months out from collecting even a fraction of it.
Mail is one of the most traditional methods for gathering past-due accounts. But if you think it’s working, the truth is that it’s not. Why? Mailing is costly and slow, and it’s not what consumers want. In healthcare specifically, 71% of consumers are confused by medical bills and 85% of consumers prefer an electronic payment method for medical bills (Trends in HC payments 11th annual report: InstaMed Consumer Healthcare Payments Survey 2020).
Sure, you can collect over the phone instead, but that process is burdensome on your team, and only 3 in 10 US consumers feel comfortable paying a local business by reading their credit card number over the phone. (2021 Podium State of Payments Report).
If you want to reach customers about their past due accounts, text is the way to go. 95% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes and 98% are read within a day of being sent. Plus,
Podium can make the collections experience ridiculously easy for you and your customers with text-to-pay. Merchants using text-to-pay see transactions come through in seconds, with many businesses seeing average collection times of less than an hour.
Text-to-pay collection is faster and cheaper than traditional methods. And it helps cut out some of the awkwardness of asking for past-due payment.
Through text, Valley Immediate Care, an urgent care clinic with 5 locations in the Medford Oregon area, was able to cut down on paper billing and employee labor, save money, and speed things up for themselves and their clients.
“We figured on average we were probably spending $5.00 to send a [paper] statement. We send 600 to 700 statements a month out. Just the saving in that alone pretty much pays for our Podium bill.” Brent Knell, CEO of Valley Immediate Care.
WOW1Day Painting of Michigan has been able to collect a significant portion of their outstanding accounts by sending payment requests via SMS.
“Just two months after my team at Wow 1 Day Painting began using Podium Payments, our Accounts Receivable were reduced to zero.Our average time to payment this month is just 24 minutes.” Justin Miller, Franchise Owner WOW 1 Day Painting
If you’re ready to give text-to-pay collections a shot, here’s how to do it in bulk.
How to send bulk invoices
Watch the video on how to send bulk invoices.
Sending a batch of payment requests takes just a few steps. (You can also access a more in-depth step-by-step guide here.)
Set up your spreadsheet. You’ll need to create the right columns so the bulk upload and send works just right. Start by creating 3-6 columns containing the customer name (can be in one column or split into separate first and last name columns), customer phone and/or customer email, amount you want them to pay, and invoice number (this field is optional, depending on if you want to use it for reconciliation). Usually you can export this information from another system pretty easily, or you can enter your data into a new sheet and save the file as a CSV.
Upload your spreadsheet. To do upload, navigate to the Workflows section in Podium by clicking on the gear in the top right and then on “Workflows” on the left navigation. Click on the blue “Bulk Upload” button and select “Payment.” Click on “Choose CSV to Upload” and find your CSV.
Map your fields. Mapping the fields in your spreadsheet to the fields in Podium is easy. Podium walks you through the process, making sure each column in your spreadsheet is connected to a specific field in Podium to ensure each recipient gets the right message and the right payment amount.
Create message and preview. Once all your fields are mapped, you can create and preview the actual message. You’ll need to select a template to use or create a new template for outstanding balances. We recommend the message has a gentle tone reminding customers to pay their outstanding balance and click on the link to pay. It’s best practice to make who the message is from and who it’s for as clear as possible, but remember to not include any personally identifiable information if you need to comply with HIPAA rules.
Here are some templates with great conversion rates:
- Text #1 30-60 days
- Hi :contact:, this is the billing team with :location:. This is a friendly reminder that you have a balance due with :Organization Name:. Please pay now with this secure link:
- Text #2 60-90 days
- Hi :contact:, this is the billing team with :location:, according to our records, you have a balance past due. Please pay with this secure link to avoid late charges.
- Text #3 90+ days
- Hi :contact:, this is the billing team with :location:, this is our last attempt to collect your past due balance. Please pay via this link to avoid further charges:
Accept the terms and send. Now all you have to do is accept the terms and conditions that your message is in compliance with Podium’s standards for sending messages. Then hit send and your messages will go out. You might also consider sending when customers are most available. Generally, we see that invoices sent in the evenings when people are home from work perform better than those sent during the day. (Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays also generally perform better.) And remember to always comply with state and federal debt collection laws and not oversend messages (or send at extremely late hours).
And that’s it. If you want to send a test bulk message to a portion of your customers first then just create a smaller list in your CSV file before sending out to your full audience. For any questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Growth Manager, Payments Solutions
Paris has spent the last 6 years consulting local businesses to streamline operations, drive revenue, and improve their payments processes. She has partnered closely with various businesses with millions of dollars in outstanding accounts receivable to decrease their days outstanding ratio with Podium.