Let customers pay online, it's good for business, say banks

Let customers pay online, it's good for business, say banks

Lawyers are lagging behind when it comes to adapting to consumer demand in the realm of payment options.

Industries across Canada, and indeed the entire planet, have embraced rapid digitalization to the point where in countries such as China, 20 per cent of all sales are being conducted exclusively through the web. Apps are literally running people's lives in Asia, and while this trend might only seem to be taking off with taxis & Uber in places like Toronto or Montreal you're about to have your world rocked if you don't think it'll affect other industries, too.

Other industries, like the LAW.

The data is in, and the message is clear: consumers want the option to PAY ONLINE.

Banks know it. They're spending all kinds of cash on making digital payments more secure and reliable. Why? Well, because they're aware of an increased consumer demand among their clientbase, which is always being surveyed and polled by sophisticated teams employed to capture consumer thoughts and feelings across the country.

Scotiabank recently produced a report in February, which indicated “customers are 30 per cent more likely to be delighted by mobile transactions”. It isn't just one bank noticing this trend, either.

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 methods. 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..

Oh no!

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 often 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.

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Tags: Scotiabank, Canadian Bankers Association, Firm Profitability Intel