The CDC has issued guidance for businesses to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 and lower the impact in their workplace. One of the focus areas addresses the need to maintain healthy business operations, including a proposal that businesses implement practices to support social distancing if recommended by state and local health authorities.
Telephone appointments, video conferencing and curbside pickup or delivery allow providers of essential services to stay open and continue serving customers in their communities. Business owners who primarily engage with clients in person—from specialty medical practices including dermatologists, physical therapists, audiologists and counselors, to veterinarians and pet supply, and auto repair and parts services—are quickly implementing solutions to safely interact with customers throughout this crisis.
4 Social Distancing Payment Practices
Let’s explore payment practices that you can employ to ensure healthy operations through these new business channels. Once this crisis passes, you’ll continue to reap the benefits, including: a better customer experience, faster cash flow, time and labor savings, and reduced fraud.
- Telephone Payments - If you traditionally take payments on a stand-alone payment device and are no longer meeting customers in person, you can process telephone payments through a cloud-hosted Virtual Terminal. You, or authorized employees, simply connect to a secure portal via your browser, enter login credentials, and key in card data. You can view and manage all activity from anywhere.
The card brands consider payments taken over the phone to be riskier than those processed in person. More risk often leads to higher processing costs, which can add hundreds of dollars per month to processing fees. Fortunately, there are simple security measures that help reduce fraud and protect against expensive downgrades. To ensure the lowest fees, make sure to enable Address Verification Service (AVS) and Card Verification Value (CVV), and set up your system to require these prompts for any card-not-present transactions.
Additionally, if a portion of your trusted clientele prefer to pay by check, you can extend them the convenience of ACH phone payments.
- Remote Receipts and Signatures - Obtaining verbal approval only for emergency repairs, complex orders and expensive services can lead to transaction disputes, which increase the chance of chargebacks. Look for solutions that allow you to email work orders, invoices and receipts to customers to approve and sign electronically via a connected device. Not only does this adhere to social distancing, but it also creates digital records associated with invoices and allows you to quickly find and retrieve receipts with just a few clicks.
Veterinarians can diagnose a pet’s problems, recommended options for surgery or treatment, and obtain approval remotely before arranging a curbside drop off for the patient. An auto repair shop can run a diagnostic test and email an updated work order including necessary parts to collect payment before completing the job.
- Hosted Payment Pages - Taking payments over the phone or mailing invoices and waiting for payments to come in is inconvenient for customers and inefficient for your business. Hosted Checkout adds a simple “Pay Now” button to your website that directs customers to a secure billing page where they enter the payment amount and sensitive card information. And best of all, it doesn’t require any website development skills or the purchase of third-party software. A medical practitioner can conduct a video appointment and email the invoice with easy steps to visit the website and pay. Hosted Checkout can be a temporary solution to collect social distancing payments while your business keeps its doors closed for in-person service, or it can remain on your site for continued use long after the crisis has passed.
- Flexible Payment Plans - You’ve built a loyal clientele by being a trusted provider of essential services in times of need. The economic fallout from the COVID-19 health crisis is affecting many families, friends and businesses in the communities you serve. Denying service to long-term customers who are financially struggling can further put them in harm’s way and result in a loss of their business in the future.
Solutions that allow valued customers to pay over time are a lifeline in times like these. Recurring Payments securely stores customer and card or bank account details to automatically process payments based on an agreed schedule. With Hosted Checkout, you notify clients of outstanding payments and allow them to pay what they can.
Take Social Distancing Payments During COVID-19
What are you doing to get creative with social distancing payments? Tell us more below; you never know who else you're going to help!