Cripps & Co
“Automating payments and all their related workflows, for a fraction of the per-payment cost of cards, is a massive win for us.”
Lee Mellon, Head of IT, Cripps & Co
Find out more about Cripps & Co
Instant Bank Pay is wedding planner’s perfect match
Cripps & Co owns and operates nine wedding venues throughout the UK. The venues typically host 150-200 weddings a year and during peak season the organisation is often running a wedding every day.
Coordinating the planning of all of these events is highly demanding and the company has increasingly turned to technology to transform its processes into a competitive advantage.
"Whenever we’ve got a process to improve or problem to solve then our instinct is always to automate it and push it to the cloud,” explains Lee Mellon, Head of IT at Cripps & Co.
With 1,600-plus events in its systems and customers paying in four instalments for each one, payments have grown into one of Cripps & Co’s most significant processes. Running an efficient operation and offering a great customer experience increasingly depends on being able to quickly and efficiently reconcile monies coming in against customer accounts, at scale.
Broken processes meant poor payments visibility
The size of typical payments means customers tend to pay manually via bank transfer. But as a customer-initiated payment this was giving rise to serious challenges around visibility into payments received, pending or delayed.
Lee explained: “BACS relies on the customer to enter the payment data. So when a family member pays on behalf of the customer and doesn’t use the invoice ID and reference – which happens often – matching them up is a manual nightmare involving venue managers and accounts spending around 14 hours per week, per venue, on the phone reviewing spreadsheets.”
This also resulted in unwelcome lag between payments being made and records updated, leaving customers sweating on whether large payments had reached their intended destination.
With the introduction of a new contract system meaning customer instalments were set to double to nine payments per event, this was unsustainable. So Lee and his team made payment processes their next target for automation.
Automating payment workflows with Instant Bank Pay
Cripps & Co turned to Instant Bank Pay from GoCardless to streamline its manual and time-consuming payment processes. Powered by open banking technology, Instant Bank Pay delivers a simple, convenient way to collect one-off payments without the high transaction fees of cards and the poor customer experience of bank transfers.
Cripps & Co can now provide customers with a link when a payment is due, which when clicked pre-populates the payment with all the data its finance team needs to quickly identify it in their accounts. And because transactions move directly from account-to-account, funds are transferred faster and payment is confirmed instantly for customers via their Cordero portal.
“Automating payments and all their related workflows, for a fraction of the per-payment cost of card payments, is a massive win for us,” said Lee. “We can give customers a link or add a ‘pay this invoice’ button to their Cordero portal that takes them to their banking app and fills in the invoice ID and booking reference for them. They don’t even have to enter the amount.”
Increased visibility adds up to time and cost savings
These visibility improvements have translated into dramatic time and cost savings for Cripps & Co and removed serious blockers to future growth.
Instead of introducing its new contracts and doubling the 14 hours per week spent matching payments, this process has been eliminated completely. The result is a saving of roughly £2,000 per month per venue in staff salaries.
With several more venues expected to be onboarded in the coming 18 months, Cripps & Co is now in a better position than ever to scale its business. Lee said: “We’re expecting to add more venues than we have ever done before, which would have required two more accounts team members just to manage matching payments. Adding internal overheads like that is not sustainable.”
The customer experience has dramatically improved too. Customers receive instant notification that a payment has been successful and are less likely to be chased for a payment they’ve already made.
A partnership for taking the pain out of payments
According to Lee, many venue operators have the same pain points around payments. That means the GoCardless integration puts Cripps & Co in an outstanding position to drive the future success of its Cordero solution as a standalone product.
“We want Cordero to be a driver for event management and automation,” said Lee. “By removing workflows built around emails and spreadsheets, we can help businesses get to a point where they can automatically alert customers when payments are due, and staff when those payments are made. Having the payment flow automated through GoCardless makes all this happen, along with adding value around catching payment issues or overpayments before they require manual intervention.”
Alongside this new chapter as a software provider and a planned period of venue expansion, efficient growth and scale remain as high on the agenda as ever. As does maintaining its relationship with a world-leading payments partner capable of driving both.
“Whatever our need or query, we can rely on someone getting back to us straight away. That makes GoCardless a great company to have alongside us on our transformation journey.”