bigblu cuts out the banks and credit cards to reduce payments admin
bigblu provides satellite broadband services to customers in remote areas that either don’t have access to fibre connectivity or otherwise lack reliable internet access. It operates across Europe, in the UK, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Germany, France and Italy.
“Satellite broadband is quite a niche area and for most customers it's the only option they have,” said Craig Allen, Head of Billing & Credit Control, bigblu.
Frustrated at the number of hours swallowed up engaging with multiple banks to process customers’ monthly Direct Debits and credit card failure rates, Craig decided to streamline Bigblu’s payments processes around a single solution in the shape of GoCardless.
“Processing Direct Debits directly through banks was drawing in multiple people and teams, and as cards expire, we battled with high credit card failure rates and the associated admin,” said Craig. “But as soon as we integrated GoCardless and took the banks out of the picture and encouraged the move from credit card to direct debit, payments became more seamless and far less resource intensive.”
GoCardless saves two hours of admin every day
bigblu undertook the integration with GoCardless in partnership with its CRM and billing systems provider, Kick. The Kick team are specialists in the Microsoft Dynamics enterprise resource planning platform on which bigblu’s payments and billing systems are based.
“We don't have in-house developers, so we rely on Kick to move our technology forward,” said Craig. “It’s a very close relationship between three companies – bigblu, Kick and GoCardless – that treat each other like peers rather than customer and vendor.”
The costs for bigblu to collect payments with GoCardless are significantly lower than when the company had to deal with individual banks, but Craig has been most impressed by the process improvements.
“Since automating payments with GoCardless we’ve saved all that time and effort uploading payments direct to each customers’ bank,” said Craig. “But the biggest benefit is the faster allocation of payments. Overall, we probably save two hours a day not having to do manual allocations. This allows our team to focus on improving the service we offer to customers.”
The company’s new streamlined processes have given it the confidence to dramatically increase the proportion of customers paying through Direct Debit, knowing that doing so won’t increase overheads. “The percentage of customers paying via Direct Debit versus card, went from 12% to nearly 80%,” said Craig. That’s great news for the business in terms of security of revenue.
Generally, Direct Debit payments have the lowest failure rate, and we average around 97-98% success rate collecting payments with GoCardless across all territories.
Incentivising customer uptake
The success of the initial UK-based integration of GoCardless encouraged bigblu to roll out the solution to Spain, Portugal, Germany, France and Italy. This process revealed to Craig and his team the importance of communication and choice when offering customers new ways to pay.
“Generally in the UK, Ireland, Germany and Spain, people are fairly comfortable paying via Direct Debit,” he said. “In Portugal there's a bit more of reluctance and people tend to prefer paying via bank transfers and credit card.”
The solution, explained Craig, was a series of incentive campaigns: “A good recent example would be incentivising people to switch to Direct Debit, in order to avoid a proposed price increase.”
In just a few months we migrated some fairly large customer bases and almost trebled the volume of payments that went through GoCardless.
Real and lasting business impact – and that’s just the beginning
The progress bigblu has made in transforming operations and freeing resources from non-value add work, has delivered real and lasting business impacts. But, in many ways it is just the beginning, according to Craig.
“GoCardless have been very easy to contact, very supportive and we’re now working with them and Kick to further automate our Direct Debit processing, and integrate it with other payments systems,”said Craig.
Finally, the benefits realised by bigblu’s payments team with GoCardless, and the successful relationship between the two companies and Kick, has attracted interest from other parts of the business.
“We now have a new project ongoing with another brand within our parent company,” said Craig. “The fact that we have managed to push GoCardless further into the business is a testament to its success. This will offer yet more commercial benefits for us as a business, and implementing GoCardless on the new brand will also be of huge benefit to our customers.”