Assess your constituent billing experience with this free checklist: Pay Their Way—A Constituent Billing and Payment Experience Checklist. Download the checklist >
The modern-day consumer experience is filled with convenience and speed, especially at checkout. And for government payments, the expectation is no different. Nearly 50% of consumers say they want more than one payment option, over 40% of consumers pay recurring bills automatically, and over 80% of consumers want to make payments on their mobile device or another online platform. And only 5% of consumers still want to make payments through the mail.
Payments for your constituents are no different.
The billing and payment experience you have set up for your constituents is critical for citizen satisfaction and payment on-time and completion rates. By adding convenience and ease to your billing process, your local government can elevate the constituent payment experience while improving overall satisfaction with your elected officials.
Here are three ways to add convenience to your constituent billing process:
1. Offer multiple payment options
Nearly 60% of consumers expect multiple payment options on the checkout page, and your constituents are no different. When you offer only one payment option, you limit your citizen’s opportunity and likelihood of paying on time (and rating their experience with your website, your billing office, and your elected government officials as positive).
By offering multiple payment options, you can meet the demands of the modern-day consumer and offer a personalized checkout experience.
Outside of different channels to make a payment—making a payment online, sending a check through the mail, paying in person at the office, or completing a payment via text—offering multiple payment options can be as simple as accepting all major credit cards and other payment platforms.
How to add convenience with multiple payment options:
→ Accept American Express, VISA, MasterCard, Discover Card
→ Accept Venmo, PayPal, Apple Pay
2. Offer the right payment options
Offering the right payment options is a great start to adding convenience for your constituents, but beyond offering familiar options, it’s critical to make it clear which options your constituents can use to make a payment.
Make sure your constituents are aware of their payment options at every major checkout touch point: on website checkout pages, billing emails, mailed invoices, and other constituent messaging documents. As constituents see familiar payment options—and there’s a clear call to action to make a payment—they’re more likely to complete the payment (and do so on time).
How to add convenience with the right payment options:
→ Clearly label accepted payment options at every major checkout touch point
→ Communicate payment options in all constituent billing and payment messaging
3. Offer a seamless physical-to-digital experience
The line between online payments and in-person payments is growing thinner as we step into a more blurred online/offline experience in retail, grocery shopping, movies, and more. And for 77% of consumers, cards are the preferred method when making a payment online. And your constituents expect the same experience. Offer the same payment options in person as you do online—adding convenience for constituents that might move between payments options every month.
Just as you message the payment options available to your constituents in all constituent communication, make it clear what payment options are available both online and in person. Use decals and branding to maintain consistency and assure constituents that online and in-person payment experiences are easy to navigate.
How to add convenience with online and in-person payment options:
→ Offer the same payment options both online and in-person
→ Utilize decals and branding to clearly label payment options for both online and in-person options
Bonus: Make sure you offer AMEX as an option at checkout
To ensure your constituents get a convenient and positive experience, make sure you offer American Express as a payment option at all checkouts—both online and in-person. According to 67% of U.S. AMEX card members, government departments that accept AMEX provide better customer experience.