Direct debit’s surprise benefit: better relationships with your parent community

Our cash flow blog offers insight into the various financial benefits that automated payment solutions can bring to your childcare centre’s bottom line. Improving your cash availability, reducing the labour cost of manually processing parent payments, and practically eliminating the manual task of chasing late payments are the common benefits of using direct debit. These operational benefits will bring you much closer to attaining a new competitive advantage, increasing your profits and improving your likelihood of achieving long-term business viability.

However, there’s another big benefit of automated payments that’s more difficult to quantify in terms of a hard-and-fast dollar value, yet can most definitely influence the long-term success of your childcare centre. We’re talking about the quality of your relationships with your parent community.

Improved relationships and direct debit at your centre

It’s no secret that nurturing an excellent relationship with your parent community is good for business. Not only is it good for achieving free word-of-mouth advertising, it’s good for staff morale and it’s good for reducing client churn. Automating payments in your childcare centre can help your staff cultivate more positive relationships with parents by honing in on one of the most negative aspects of the staff/parent relationship: dealing with fees and late payments.

Behind automated payments and business benefits

Discussions with our childcare clients have revealed that chasing late payments from parents doesn’t only eat away at centre owners’ profit margins – it’s also one of the most despised tasks by all childcare workers. Automated payments not only reduces the cost of chasing late payments from parents – a surprise flow-on effect of removing this administrative burden is happier staff, fewer confrontational conversations about payments with parents and all-round better staff/parent relationships. Put simply, an automated payments system benefits a number of stakeholders –so it’s important that your staff are armed with the skills to confidently discuss with your parent community the nuts and bolts of direct debit payments.

Tools and tips to arm your staff with skills and confidence

As the frontline of your childcare business, it’s important that your staff are armed with the skills and resources required to confidently communicate with parents about direct debit – and influence them to make the switch fast.

  1. Make sure your staff love direct debit: Your childcare centre staff need to be enthusiastic about introducing automated payments so they can pass on this positivity to your parent community. To get them on board, remind them that they can expect a reduced administration workload.
  2. Prepare a few key messages: Arm your staff with a one-page fact sheet that outlines a few key facts about direct debit, and list the top parent FAQs. This will ensure that all of your staff are communicating the same information to parents – clearly and consistently.
  3. Make training available to staff: Talk to one of our friendly childcare payments consultants about getting your staff up to speed on your new automated payments system. This will give your staff the know-how and confidence to handle technical questions from parents.
  4. Check in regularly: A week after your staff have started the direct debit conversation with parents, touch base with your staff to see how things are progressing.

Set yourself up for success

Follow our 4 steps above to get the most out of your direct debit implementation. Don't forget to try the Ezidebit online calculator to see the financial impact direct debit can have on your childcare revenue.