Payments can be a touchy subject. In a customer driven age, it’s important that everything you do enhances the customer experience, including how you handle payments. While it’s easy to let a payment or two slide to avoid awkward conversations, these can easily add up and affect your bottom line.
Although this is the same for many industries, it becomes equally if not more important for the childcare industry where centres must find a balance between maintaining cash flow and delivering high levels of care for children.
When payments are late, you don’t want to become too insistent chasing them down - potentially causing a breakdown of the all-important parent/carer relationship, nor do you want to refuse childcare to a parent in need. However, regular income is necessary to keep your childcare centre afloat.
Technology has come leaps and bounds over the past decade, and with it, a variety of tools have been developed to better handle your payments and maintain your relationship with parents. So, how can these tools help and where do you start?
Take control of your cash flow
Traditionally, childcare centres would have to rely on parents to either pay in person (with cash or through an eftpos terminal) or via bank transfer. These traditional payment methods take away any control your centre has over when payments are made and can easily lead to missed or overdue payments. It’s important that you remain in control of your payment collection.
Automate your payment collection
A proven method to ensure you get paid on time is the introduction of payment automation. By automating the collection of childcare fees, you can debit parents’ preferred payment method according to a chosen schedule. This effectively removes the ongoing need to ask parents for payment, allowing you to focus on providing excellent care to children and building a positive relationship with parents, whilst regular payments are collected like clockwork.
Improve payment punctuality with flexible options
Giving parents flexibility in how they pay may also help to improve punctuality and ease the burden of debt. There are many reasons why a parent may want to use a specific payment method. Credit cards sometimes offer reward points which could contribute to their next family holiday, whilst bank debits are free of interest charges which may help them save money in the long run. Once your parents are using their preferred method of payment, the likelihood of payments being made on time will increase.
Find the right tool for the job
Whilst many of these tasks can be done manually, it’s through automation that you will see the most benefits. Automated recurring billing solutions, such as Ezypay, allow you to introduce payment automation to your childcare centre and provide flexible payment options among a host of other benefits. These solutions are often inexpensive and very easy to start using, whether you are looking for a standalone billing solution or something integrated with your current Childcare Management Software (CMS).
Where do you start?
If you’re currently using a CMS, contact them to find out if they offer an integrated billing solution. If they do, check that it has all the features you need at a reasonable cost. Ezypay is currently integrated with 7 different CMS solutions across Australia and New Zealand to greatly improve the payment experience that is offered to parents. If your CMS doesn’t offer a billing solution or you simply want to use your own, you can opt for a standalone recurring billing platform to manage the collection of your centre’s childcare fees.
If you would like to see how Ezypay can help you eliminate late childcare payments or simply want some more information, you can read more and enquire here, or get in touch with us directly via phone or email.