Smart Solutions

Contactless Payments

Today SMS payments are an essential tool in the mechanic’s toolbox.

Few professions are more reliant on tools to carry out their jobs than mechanics. It’s what allows them to build and repair cars, provide an essential service and keep Australia moving. In a slightly different sense, tools are also essential in helping them keep their business moving too. Over the last two years, local businesses have adopted technology with a short-term survival mindset. Today it’s essential for them to adopt these ‘tools’ with a more future- and customer-focussed approach.

One of the most important technologies today – allowing mechanics to not only take control of their cash flow but provide the streamlined, modern and convenient services customers demand – is contactless, SMS payments. But what are contactless payments? Why are they essential? And how can mechanics seamlessly add them to their business tool box?

Cash payments – once the primary means of exchange between mechanics and customers – have been declining steadily for a decade. The transition has exploded recently as the pandemic emphasised the importance of safe and convenient payments. One of the fastest-growing short-term trends, and the future we’re so excited about, is contactless payments.

Rather than issuing a PDF or paper invoice via email or post when you’ve finished a service or repair – time-consuming process that stagnates cash flow – a payment request is sent as an SMS directly to a customer’s smartphone with a one-click payment link. They don’t have to call up to issue payment on the phone or login to a separate app, they just have to click the secure link, enter their details and process the payment almost instantly with credit, debit, Google Pay or Apple Pay. Almost AUD$15bn in global transactions were processed through SMS contactless payments in 2020, and that figure is expected to almost double to over $25bn by 2025.

Today, it’s essential for mechanics to understand their customers’ trends, habits and expectations, and find ways to cater to these needs. Podium research shows that almost nine in ten Aussies prioritise businesses that offer pandemic-friendly services, like contactless payments, while more than half would consider seeking a competitor if a local business didn’t offer this. Don’t let your mechanic business lose out to a competitor.

The more convenient and memorable a mechanic’s service, the easier it is to incentivise loyalty. The benefit isn’t just for the customer, but your business too. Contactless payments reduce admin, increase productivity and improve cash flow – all of which contribute to healthy and efficient businesses. Through Podium’s contactless payments, you can also see the status of every payment, invoice and transaction in one place. It also enables you to forecast cash flow, automate follow-up reminders for overdue payments and even integrates with your accounting software to help when it comes to tax time.

First, ensure that your mechanic business number can send and receive texts. With Podium you can set up text messaging from your landline and control the entire process via computer, tablet or smartphone.

Make this a default method of interacting with your customers and ensure your employees understand the process and feel comfortable answering questions, making sales and issuing payments via text. With the right software, the training will be minimal and the process as simple as sending a text.

Remember contactless is about convenience, so before you set up text payment, ensure you can accept a variety of payment types, including the essentials like debit and credit card, and Apple and Google Pay.

The easier it is for your customers, the more likely they’ll pay in a timely manner. Ensure they know in advance that you send text payments, though, so they don’t get suspicious and ignore your SMS.

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