Every month, your club submits billing items to process. Those items can be a mix of payment methods, each with its own challenges. Getting as many of those items successfully transacted as possible is a common goal for all club owners. Some are better at it than others.
Here is a suggested recipe for success:
Get complete and accurate information, along with the proper authorizations, from the account holders. When a member joins or makes changes to their account, make sure they are aware of your billing terms and conditions. Using a credit card reader and a paperless system, you will be able to digitally capture their signature or initials for approvals. This information could be useful should you have a chargeback. Member’s information changes rapidly. Tell them the avenues they can use to update their information, i.e. at the club, through the member portal, or via other options.
Keep a close eye on your billing process. You should be able to update accounts and change dollar amounts up to two to three days prior to your bill date. This allows more accurate information to be used when it is time to actually bill. Run any club management system reports that are part of the pre-bill process to alert you to possible problems.
Use any account update systems offered to you. If you have a high volume of credit cards, check with your club management provider to see if you can subscribe to this program. It allows them to check for updates to a credit card before it is billed. This could make it so that more items go through on the first try. Those updates also sync up with your member information, keeping it up to date.
When a billing item returns after the first try, you should be able to resubmit them for another attempt. During the resubmit process, use any windows of opportunity to update the billing information or remove items. Club management systems should have an alert at check-in, so that when a member is going to be resubmitted you can ask for new information or take the payment on the spot and then remove them from the billing process.
Once a billing item is returned to you as uncollectable, you can do the follow-up work yourself or enlist the help of a service. Some club management providers have this service — check if you aren’t sure. Doing it “in house,” you can remind your staff to take payments on check-in, send out texts, email blasts and make phone calls. Don’t ignore any uncollected funds. Follow-up and then cancel the member if you are unsuccessful at getting payment. Using a service takes the workload off your staff and is a complement to what you might be doing on your own. Don’t be afraid to explore this service — you might be surprised at how they work.
No matter how you mix these ingredients, you should be able to create a successful outcome.
Susanne Nauseda has an exercise science degree she put to use in the industry for 10 years prior to joining Twin Oaks Software, where she has worked for the last 17 years. Contact her at 860.829.6000 x 269 or firstname.lastname@example.org.