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3 Tips to Create Cohesive Branding for Billing and Payments

Did you know? Creating cohesive digital experiences for your customers during the billing process can help them feel more comfortable to make payments on time.

A customer journey in the payment process should be relatively linear. They use a service or buy a product, receive an invoice, make a payment, and repeat. However, the process is not as cut and dry. If a business is using unbranded pages such as a customer portal, it can cause a customer to stop and become confused. The confusion often comes from the lack of consistency. Humans are wired to spot inconsistencies.

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The Smithsonian Magazine has a daily Spot The Difference Game to test how fast you can locate the most minor details. Give it a try, how well did you do? The human brain develops this really cool ability when you’re as young as 10 weeks old. Understanding what is causing the actual difference comes much later with experience. Lastly, combining visual and conceptual differences layered together is the ultimate brain teaser.

When we simplify the information presented to a user's view, easier it is for them to make decisions and then take action. As a business, we love when a user makes a payment! Making a payment should be a positive experience and easy to understand so they can love it too. However, it is easy to have some distracting visuals and concepts get in the way.

Distractions can be from a multitude of different steps and visuals when a user is going through the process of making a payment. Paytm for Bussiness states in their article 6 Ways to Simplify Payment Processes for Your Online Customers

“Since you do not have much control over the design of these intermediate payment pages, some customers may feel as if they are making payments to a business other than yours.

Hence, it is quite crucial for you to ensure a redirection-free payment experience for your customers. This is possible by selecting the right payment gateway for your online business.”

Rikki Berg Tomsen, writer at Drip wrote an article called, Optimize Your Checkout with These 12 Simple (But Overlooked) Conversion TacticsThe blog covers a lot of missed opportunities to guide your customer through the checkout process. There are many ways you can interact, with the customer to increase their likelihood of completing the task. Check out the article to learn more about improving one-time occurrences, and recurring billing.

Let's work through 3 ways to make billing and payments user friendly

1. Make Visual Branding a Priority

During the research phase of a customer’s buyer journey, a customer will come across many brands. A product that is not only great quality but also has consistent branding, is more likely to engage a new customer. Viewers are more likely to watch videos till the end, view web pages longer, and click to find more information when they are visually focused.

When a new customer has decided to commit to a product, especially after being enchanted by strong branding, the last thing you want is to become inconsistent.

Imagine you’re at a really nice restaurant. You have candles on the table, soft music, a comfortable chair, and fabulous decor. The meal is great and dessert is on the way. But, you need to take a trip to the restroom first. Walking into the bathroom, the lighting is florescent, the floors are dingy tile, the sink is leaking, and the waste basket is overflowing — experience halted, possibly damaged. This negative experience could all turn around with a little attention to the atmosphere. Take that same idea and apply it to the payment experience that your customers go through. Are they checking out a lovely app and signing up for your software, only to be slammed with ugly emails, unbranded invoices, and obscure payment processors?

“Branding the experience — It may be a mistake to view the Web as just another distribution channel. The Nike swoosh can be seen everywhere, but when Forrester Research surveyed their website they found that it was anything but a hot destination. Why? The site was complex and hard to navigate; the pictures of sports stars took ages to download. The content was not offering a solution, but more importantly, it was not offering an experience.”

Branding Matters More on the Internet, by Helena Rubinstein. Check out the full research document on Research Gate.

Make it a priority to pay attention to the full experience. Find integrations that can be customized to fit your brand’s aesthetic. Give your customer’s the 5-star restaurant experience!

2. What’s in a Domain Name

Careful, even the smallest details can throw customers off track. Often, if the pages visually flow cohesively, the URL on your browser can go unnoticed. However, if you’re changing what’s visually in front of the user from one page to the next, they may realize that they have technically left your domain and entered a new one.

Long-time advice warns users to be wary of websites with anything “phishy” going on. Having a different domain name while asking for payment information can send up red flags! 🚩 Getting users to make payments on time can already be a chore when they already trust a brand, but what if they don't? If a user questions the security of their data or the environment, it will dissuade them from their journey.

Fix this by creating branded domain names that have the appearance of staying within your product, even if you have technically navigated them to another area such as a payment processor. Did you know you can set up your own branded domain name for ChargeOver in 4 easy steps?

3. Give Clear Directions

When you are the one creating the journey, it often overshadows the customer’s experience. Make sure to test your process with multiple people to see how they would navigate the billing and payment process from start to finish. Along the way, take notes. What clues did they need in order to know what step to take next? Did you have to highlight action or create more options along the way? Was there any point where the tester needed to stop and ask for directions?

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Setting up auto payments is a way to maintain a relationship with your customer without investing a lot of time in communicating. The positive is that it “ensures on-time payments that aren’t reliant on customers being reminded to submit payment,” cites an article from Practical Business Skills Having directions of when and where to make payments allows the customer to know what to expect. Giving them the option to have the business take care of collecting their money through their banking off-loads a task. Delegating tasks to make their workload easier is usually a positive experience! However, make sure to still communicate that an upcoming payment may be withdrawn! “Customers may forget about the AutoPay they’ve set up and request refunds after the fact.”

Striata illustrated a timeline to show how communication can reduce DSOs dramatically. (source: https://www.striata.com/posts/the-bill-to-payment-customer-journey/)

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Although we believe most functions are no-brainers, it’s best to serve any feature with some context. It is also wise to note anything that may be a consequence if they do not perform the actions on time.

“Enter credit card information below and click submit.”

“Select auto-withdraw for recurring monthly payment. Then click save.”

“Make payment by June 28, 2025. Late payments will be charged an additional 10% per 30 days until the full balance is paid.”

Clear directions avoid assuming the user understands the actions they must make. It also makes it easier for screen readers and other accessibility tools to translate the page. When has being more understandable been a bad idea?

The Conclusion

Making some small adjustments can decrease the time you wait for your customer’s payments to roll in. Simplifying, clarifying, and branding the digital environment will make the customer transaction phase more efficient. The more they trust the pages they land on, the more likely they will be willing to share their personal information. The more secure and at ease a user feels during their journey, the more they will trust your brand and be loyal for years to come.

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