If you are currently carrying out all of your accounting processes manually, you know that it can be an extremely meticulous and time consuming headache of a job. You need to be sure that you are handling all of your billing and payments correctly, but there are always bound to be financial errors that slip through the cracks.
Because of this, businesses are now using integrated credit card processing systems to help manage their finances. With a small business like yours, especially if your dance studio is new, you simply cannot afford to have a complicated payment system. Thankfully, dance studio software usually includes some sort of integrated card processing tool.
With the right software, you and your students will experience the ease of a simple and straight forward billing process. To give you a better idea of what this would mean for you, we have compiled a list of information and benefits that integrated credit card processing will provide for everyone involved.
Reasons to Use Online Payment Processing
Judging by how receptive people are to convenience these days, offering the easiest payment solution for your customers is key if you want to gain a decent size clientele. Not offering a way for people to use credit cards safely for payment will limit your client base and make it very difficult to keep up with your competitors. In addition, offering a convenient payment option online is the best solution because:
Credit transactions are the simplest way to exchange money. US Census statistics have revealed that the amount of electronic transactions being carried out in America tripled from $808 billion in 1990 to $2.4 trillion within the span of 10 years. More statistics showed online credit transactions reaching $4.8 billion in 2012. In 2010, 75% of cardholders were using their mobile devices to complete payment transactions online. That number tripled by 2017. People simply do not carry a checkbook anymore, and due to the above statistics, most prefer to make payments online from the comfort of their own homes.
It will make it easier for you to get new customers. Your potential students, or their parents, are often going to find your business by looking around on the internet for dance classes. If they end up on your webpage and only have to click a few buttons to register and pay for a class, they are more likely to do it. Most competitors in your market offer this option, and if you are one that does not, many will gravitate toward the other options in your area.
This is not only a convenience for your potential students, but for you as well. You will not have to be checking your phone 24/7 for messages with questions about signing up for your studio if you have everything available on your website. This will allow you to live your own life when you are not at work.
Not only will it save you time, it will also provide safety for your business. Using a studio management software with credit card processing most often means that all of your transactions are going to be done in one place. Carrying out electronic transactions through a separate system can make it difficult to track your payment activities and put your customer’s credit card information at risk.
Credit card numbers will be stored securely by the company your studio management software is partnering with. Make sure that the company they are using has a Cardholder Information Security Program certified process included with their services. Many of your clients may have their reservations about you keeping their credit card information in the cloud, and this is how you can reassure them that their sensitive data is protected.
In addition, keeping everything together will allow you to easily view everyone’s payment history and monitor any outstanding bills and how long they have not been paid.
Integrating Credit Card Processing through your Software Benefits you and your Students
When a payment system makes things easier for you and your customers alike, there really is not any question if it is worth implementing. The list of benefits for both parties is a long one:
- Your customers cannot forget to pay because all of their payment information is viewable in their account and they will be sent reminders if the bill is outstanding. You may always choose to require them to pay before you provide any services to them to ensure you have no outstanding accounts.
- For those planning on continuing classes with you for an extended period of time, they can select autopay features so their balances are collected automatically each month. The amounts collected from a customer using autopay will adjust based on any increased services they received that month, such as additional classes or costume purchases.
- You will save money by doing everything electronically and not having to print out all of your statements and invoices. All receipts or notices of outstanding payments will be sent via email.
Protecting your Customers Credit Card Information
As we have already touched upon, accepting credit card payments will make you responsible for the safety of your client’s sensitive financial and personal information. This can get you into some trouble if you do not take the proper measures for the highest security and privacy settings possible. Your merchant account service must have a strong record of PCI (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance.
Choosing a Merchant Account Provider
As you research your options for a good software, you will want to know that you are going with a program that will help you to reduce the risk of fines from card associations. The customer service team associated with the software should be able to provide you with all of the information you need to understand how their services will protect your clientele. The best gateway services will be able to work with any processor on the market and include no requirements for downloading any additional software.
When assessing a merchant account provider, look for these qualities:
- No monthly minimum fees
- Storage for credit card information that is free
- Services that can be processed for all US merchants or more
- Affordable eCheck processing
- Reports that provide all details of payment history in a clear way that is easy to navigate
Shopping for Studio Management Software
As you have probably gathered, you shouldn’t just go with any dance studio management software service. There are some important factors that you need to investigate, especially the safety and ease of your financial processes. Credit card processing is a big example of a feature to look for as you do your software research. Some other key things to consider when making your decision are:
How helpful and responsive the customer service team is. You will want to know that you are going to receive help when you need it. If you are processing a customer’s payment and something appears to go wrong, you do not want to be stuck in a place where you cannot provide them with an explanation. Talk to the customer service team affiliated with the software you are considering and get a good gauge on how helpful they are going to be as you use their services.
The software should include a point of sale feature to allow you to track your inventory. With a feature like this, you will be able to keep all of your items well stocked and keep your customers happy. Once any quantity is getting low you will receive a notification that it is time to replenish your stock.
Parents should be able to view all of their account information at anytime. With an easy and fully transparent account layout, your clientele will feel comfortable answering any questions they have by simply going to your website. This will save you time from all of the emails and phone calls you would receive otherwise, and it will set them at ease to know that all of their information is accessible, no matter what time of day. They should be able to view exactly what they have paid, what they have left to pay, and have the ability to update their account information whenever they need to.
The software should be integrated with a system like Quickbooks so money you are receiving is easily accessible. Once you have collected payments from your students and parents, you need to have a way to link the income to your expenses easily. With the right system you will not have to manually enter anything and your time and money will not be wasted.
You need to be sure you can trust the company that you are working with. Your clients want to know they can depend on you, and you need to know you can depend on your software. You are not just going to be paying them every month, you are putting your trust in them to handle the way your company runs and how your customers are going to view you. It may take a little more time and effort, but doing the research on your software company is worth it.
Make the time to get properly trained on the ins and outs of the software. A good software will not be difficult to navigate, but you still want to make sure that you are fully confident using it’s features. Doing so will allow you to run your business more efficiently and truly reap the benefits of the system you are paying for. Use the options provided to you for all the training you can get. Most softwares will offer an online training, videos, and demos, as well as in person training if you so need it. Ask the customer service team if there is anything you are missing, such as features and tricks that could take your use of the system to the next level.
The credit card processor should already have experience doing business with dance studios. Processing payments for a dance studio is not the same as processing payments for a large multi million dollar corporation. You do not want to have to worry about huge credit card fees. Use a company that already works with businesses like yours. A company that already specializes in working with dance studios will provide with you with lower rates and save you hundreds to thousands of dollars each month.
What Does this Mean?
The whole point of a studio management software is to make it easier for you and your customers to get the most out of your business and to help it continue to grow. By working with a program like The Studio Director, you will quickly see how every feature, including credit card processing, is programmed to optimize and simplify the way that you do business. For anymore information on using credit card processing with your dance studio software, please do not hesitate to reach out!