Today, we are very excited to feature a guest post from Jon Koerber, President of DanceClassJuggler.

We love his perspective and are excited to share this information with the dance industry. 

Five Key Reasons to Offer Customers Online Credit Card Payments

Jon Koerber, President of DanceClassJuggler

A dance studio owner recently asked me, “When should I start accepting credit card payments from my website?” My reaction: “Yesterday!”

Based on what I see as the president of a business that exists to help studios manage their business, it’s hard to comprehend how today’s studio owner can stay competitive without being able to accept credit or debit cards.

Here are the top five reasons it’s time to start offering your customers online payment options.

Reason #1 – Credit transactions are now the norm

In the space of a few years, the way we pay for services has transformed. Cash and checks are out, and credit/debit transactions are in. According to U.S. Census stats e-transactions have become ubiquitous, growing from $808 billion in 1990 to $2.4 trillion, tripling in just 10 years.

Much of this growth is being fueled by the Internet and mobile devices:

· U.S. e-commerce stats show online credit transactions mushrooming in popularity between 2006 and 2012, from $2.8 billion to $4.8 billion.

· By 2010, credit statistics show that three of every four cardholders with a mobile phone completed transactions online. And mobile device financial transactions are forecast to triple by 2017.

What happened to good ol’ fashioned checks? This once common method of paying for goods or services is disappearing, declining nearly 10% annually between 2009 to 2012.

Reason #2 – Accepting Credit Cards Greases the Skids of Customer Acquisition

When you support the customer preference of paying electronically, you remove what’s called in marketing parlance a “barrier to entry,” removing a roadblock to potential customers.

Today’s customers want and expect to pay student fees electronically, and the majority prefer to pay online. In an age where families are relying less on checkbooks and more on the convenience of credit cards, you may be pushed in that direction by your customers. Not responding to this push could cost you customers.

Reason #3 – Accepting E-Payments Keeps You Competitive

You can stay ahead of competitors when you have the potential of generating new business even while you snooze by letting customers sign up and pay for classes anytime day or night from your e-transaction enabled website.

Of course your competition is likely already accepting credit cards payments. If nearby studios are offering the convenience of online payment options, then you protect your business if you follow suit.

Reason #4 – Electronic Transactions Save You Time, Legal Risk, and Money

Even with the many costs of accepting credit cards, the time saved by not chasing down late customer payments, visits to the bank, non-sufficient fund penalties, and all the other hassles of handling cash and check payments puts you ahead.

Also, when your electronic data transactions are managed online in one place (which several of the online dance school management software providers offer) you eliminate the need to keep a separate system for tracking credit card payments. It also removes the risk of storing customer credit card information at your business, eliminating those sticky notes and file folders containing private financial information on your customers.

With online self-service payment methods available to your customers, you also reduce front desk staff burden, letting you and your staff spend more time with students.

As the saying goes, time is money. While it is hard to put a dollar value on your time, saving 3-6 hours a month in payment processing can more than pay for the transaction fees.

Reason #5 – Managed Electronic Transactions Boost Your Business Intelligence

Centrally managed electronic transactions creates customer data that can supercharge your business knowledge. For example, with the right software, you can simplify billing by seeing at a glance which customers are paid up and which aren’t.

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Ready to accept online payments for your dance studio? If you’re not sure how to go about it, check out our next issue’s follow-up article to get the 411 on how to begin.