Bike Club takes hassle-free payments for a spin with GoCardless
Bike Club is a pay-monthly service ensuring families never have to buy a kid’s bike again, allowing them to exchange bikes as their children grow. With 40,000 bikes out on rent, it’s the world’s biggest kids’ bike rental network and the second biggest bike rental service overall.
“Bike Club is a circular economy business, it's totally flexible and fully sustainable,” said the company’s CEO, James Symes. “We have tens of thousands of members across the UK who are saving tonnes of waste.”
Right from the genesis of the Bike Club concept, James and the team felt that payments would be a key touchpoint for customers and a vital part of their experience. “We knew that to make this work we had to have the least hassle, least admin payment solution – for both us and customers,” he said.
Payments, sorted. From start-up to scale out
Initially, as a busy start-up with stretched resources, Bike Club needed to cost-effectively set up a robust and reliable payments system. As it progressed through multiple rounds of funding, it also needed to give investors confidence that its operations were efficient and resilient.
“A mainstream bank pitched their Direct Debit system but GoCardless won hands down,” explained Symes. “It was cheaper, easy to use and plug in, and super easy to build into our customer journey. Through multiple funding rounds, no one questioned GoCardless as a payments provider.”
Today, Bike Club’s customer base is dramatically larger and growing all the time. The majority pay via GoCardless and the platform generates significant savings on overheads.
“We're collecting tens of thousands of payments a month and 90% of our revenue goes through GoCardless,” said James. “GoCardless saves us about three FTE per year, which equates to around £100,000 worth of overhead. It's been really, really valuable for our business – if we don't have GoCardless, we barely have a business.”
Support for customers struggling with payments
Bike Club offers customers the flexibility to make their payment on any date of the month. This is an important part of the customer experience but it increases the risk of customers not having the right money in their bank account at the right time.
To keep failed payments under control and minimise the cost of chasing them – not to mention the potential harm to the customer relationship – Bike Club uses Success+ from GoCardless. Driven by payments intelligence data and machine learning, Success+ makes intelligent retries at the times when each customer is most likely to have funds in their account.
“In consumer finance, you have customers who are going to pay you all the time, on time, people who are struggling perhaps with a life event, or fraud,” said James. “The intelligent retries in Success+ allow people who have missed a payment to catch up naturally, while the solution’s data allows us to identify the ones who might be struggling so we can proactively help them get to the right place."
“In the past 18 months, Success+ has helped us recover nearly £200,000 worth of revenue. Meanwhile, the clever use of machine learning means our payments team isn’t burdened with worrying about every failed payment. Instead, they can focus on helping customers who are actually struggling. That’s also allowed us to make huge savings on finance and admin costs.”
Taking Bike Club – and its payments – global
With international expansion in his sights, James is careful to form strategic relationships with partners that can support Bike Club as its requirements change.
“We're excited that GoCardless takes international payments in multiple currencies, because as we expand abroad that’s a whole problem dealt with already,” said James. “We’ve already onboarded thousands of customers, reliably and simply adding hundreds a day during busy periods, and GoCardless has never been questioned or commented on – I think that’s the best feedback you can get for a payments system.”
This seamless customer experience is mirrored internally, on the operations side, leaving James and his team free to focus on continuously improving the business and adding value to customers.
“The service level is very high with GoCardless, and the payments team love it – with very little training anyone can use it to enhance the way they look after members,” said James. “With GoCardless powering innovation in the payments space, we know the value to the business will continue to grow. We're excited to explore the benefits Instant Bank Pay will bring, and future fraud intelligence features too.”
“As a business owner, GoCardless makes me feel secure. I never wake up in the middle of the night worrying about payments. I know that every day of the year GoCardless is there, supporting this business to keep going forwards.” James concludes.