When it comes to adapting to consumer demand in the area of payment options, lawyers seem to be lagging behind.
Other industries around the globe such as retail have embraced digitalization to such an extent that even in the developing world (such as China), 1 in 5 retail sales are conducted entirely through the use of the web.
So why are lawyers who are working in advanced societies such as Canada slow to adopt online payment, if indeed global consumer trends are signifying an increased usage of web options of payment?
Well, a lot of it comes down to misconceptions held by lawyers themselves. This skepticism might actually be holding your firm back; so we’re going to highlight some reasons why it makes sense to give customers the option to pay you with their smartphones or tablets moments after you send them the bill.
Consumers like digital payments, and banks know it.
Banks are spending a tremendous amount of money to make digital payments more secure, and it’s because they’re aware of an increased consumer demand among their own clientbase.
According to a February 2017 report produced by Scotiabank, “customers are 30 per cent more likely to be delighted by mobile transactions”. Scotiabank isn’t alone in noticing this trend. A whopping 63 per cent of Canadians are estimated to be using an email money transfer system through the web or on their mobile phones, according to a report published earlier this year by the Canadian Bankers Association.
Instead of heading to a bank branch--which is often closed before many people finish work--consumers are increasingly paying bills through the web. Hydro bills, retail purchases, and more are being initiated exclusively through the web by banking customers who prefer this method in comparison to older methods of payment.
So why should a law firm be any different?
Market data indicates that customers routinely value the ability to choose from a variety of payment method. According to U.S. statistics collected in 2016, nearly 3 out of 4 respondents reported increased satisfaction having multiple payment options to choose from when dealing with a business.
For example, with uLawPractice a law or paralegal firm can automatically bill a customer by sending an email with a link that allows a client to pay online through their bank or credit options. The entire process is automated. Perhaps never before has it been so easy to raise an invoice and get paid.
But the service fees..
Business owners in all industries are loathe to watch 3 to 5 per cent of potential revenue get burned away by processing fees, but sadly it’s just the way things go if a lawyer wants to let a customer pay via credit card.
There’s a silver lining to this, and it’s the speed at which a firm can obtain access to the money it is generating. Small and solo firms have the most to gain in this arena, because they’re most at risk of experiencing troubles associated with irregular cash-flow. As many lawyers know, clients often fail to pay their bills in a timely manner, and some of them even get away with not paying at all!
Outstanding invoices aren’t a fun thing to deal with, particularly if the work has already been done. Unlocking the money sooner means a law firm can grow quicker.
Bottom line: law firms large and small could benefit by accepting online payments. Making things easier for the customer might make business a lot easier, and more profitable.
Are you looking for a way to incorporate new payment methods into your daily legal accounting operations?
uLawPractice is Canada’s only legal accounting AND practice management software. Click the link below and you can start a free 30 day trial.