With today's release of the new portals, I can happily announce: the days of emailing PDF invoices are over. They are dead. Stick a fork in them. Emailing invoices just creates a hassle for your customers.
When your customers receive an emailed invoice they think to themselves:
- How do I pay for this? I have 2 minutes right now, is that enough to get this done?
- If I have to call to pay it, will they even pickup the phone, or will I have to leave a message or wait on hold? Ugh....I don't have time to find out - I'll do it later.
- My contact information is wrong. How do I change this, and how will I know it was really changed? Should I even bother?
- I thought I paid this already. There's no billing history in this email. Do I have time to dig into this right now?
- That reminds me, I need a copy of last month's invoice for my expense report. How do I request this? How long will it take them to get around to sending it to me? I need this now.
- Darn! More money out of my pocket! (okay.....we really can't help with that one)
Bottom line: today's customers are too busy to call or email you. They are doing their business on the web and getting their tasks done INSTANTLY, on demand, without having to wait for email responses or having to pick up the phone. The companies they value more are the ones who make it convenient for them to get their tasks done.
The new portals give your customers convenience, help them pay you faster and make you look professional - BIG COMPANY professional. Even better - this is all available "out of the box" in Method, with no additional setup required. In fact, chances are, you are only minutes away from sending your customers their first invoice the new way.
Here is your new invoicing process:
Create your invoice in Method using the Customer Center > Invoices screen. Here, I am using our "Best 4 You Services" account, which has been customized with our own company logo and color scheme.
Make sure Email notification when saving? is checked.
Click Save & Email.
You will be BCC'd on the email your customer gets.
Notice that the email has a simple link to click, built using our new MIurl.cc short URL.
Once your customer clicks on the link they'll be taken to a sign in screen.
Note, only their email address is needed for authentication. This makes it easy for them to sign into the portal without any hassle.
After signing in the customer is taken directly to the invoice.
Here they can view or print a PDF, and pay their invoice online. Don't have a payment gateway setup yet? Get on it! Method currently supports Intuit Merchant Services, Authorize.NET and PSIgate. If you use Intuit Merchant Services, read my recent blog entry about how to setup Intuit Merchant Services for Method.
Other features of the new portals:
- Your customers can view and modify their contact information. When this happens, both you and the customer get an email notification. Of course, the new information flows instantly into QuickBooks!
- The portals now collect Social Media information about your contacts, such as their Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter user names.
- If you are a Method Full Blown or CRM user, your customers can search existing solutions, which are your frequently asked customer service questions.
- If you are a Method Full Blown or CRM user, your customers can create a customer service case.
- It's all customizable!! You can modify the screens, and create your own screens to further enrich the customer experience!
What does this cost?
- The first 500 portal sessions each month are FREE. This is a lot of sessions, so for the vast majority of Method users, portals are now totally free.
- Have heavy portal use? For each session beyond 500 a month you'll see 15 cents added to your bill. I think you'll agree this cost is an amazingly tiny little dot next to what it would have cost your staff to handle all those calls!
- What's a "session"? A portal session is 5 minutes of continued activity, which is typically more than enough time for your customer to get in and out. What if they forget to sign out? Don't worry, if they use it for 5 minutes, leave the portal open all day, and then come back and use it for 5 more minutes, it only counts as two sessions.
So, what are you waiting for? Get started on the new way of invoicing TODAY!
Method Founder & CEO