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There are many benefits to using Direct Debits at your club. They help generate a recurring income, they’re convenient for your members and it means that you can relax safe in the knowledge that you’ll be getting paid every month. 

However, finding a reliable collections service is a whole other matter. There are many organisations out there that aren’t clear about their service, resulting in more stress for the gym owner. Before you know it, you’ll be tied into a contract and paying high fees for an unsatisfactory service level. 

We’ve put together five key things you should think about to empower you in choosing the right Direct Debit Collections service for your club.

Read reviews.

One of the first things you should check is their company reviews. TrustPilot and Capterra are good places to start, but see what people are saying on social media too. It’s a good way to read honest, unfiltered experiences that others have had with the organisation in question. A quick Google search will tell you everything you need to know; lookout for red flags such as poor customer service or hard to reach customer support services. After all, this company will be managing your money, so a little due diligence goes a long way.

Determine how intuitive the collections service is.

In an age where technology is more advanced than ever, you should expect your direct debit collections to be fast and seamless with minimal disruption to your members. That money should be paid into your account quickly and easily. How fast can the collections agency collect money and have it paid into your bank account? 

How intuitive is their service? Can the collections agency collect a Direct Debit at a time when the member is most likely to have enough money in their accounts?

Something we hear a lot is Direct Debit collections agencies taking days (or sometimes weeks) to create a DD for a membership plan; meaning their slow process is going to hamper your business. The more time you spend waiting for them to do the work, the more likely you are to lose the membership sale. 

This doesn’t have to be something you just accept. ClubRight and GoCardless are integrated so that you can create a membership plan and start selling it within minutes. It means you can be more in control of your products and maximise sales opportunities.

How to choose the right direct debit collections agency for your gym

What does their portal look like from your member’s point of view?

It’s no secret that a solid brand identity is vital to your club’s success, but the same applies to your payments provider. Is it a separate portal that your members have to visit? Does the online joining URL look like something your customers would expect to see? Seeing an unknown third-party company in the URL of a ‘Enter Your Payment Details’ page doesn’t inspire confidence for your customer. 

As an example, ClubRight always makes sure that your company name is at the start of your online joining URL so that your customers see exactly what they expect to see and feel safe entering sensitive payment information.

Do their company ethos and policies match yours?

Some collection agencies offer varying degrees of debt collection. If debt collection is one of your must-haves, make sure you understand the ethos and the policies that your selected collections service operate on. They’re representing your business, so they should conduct themselves as such. 

If they have an unsympathetic and almost aggressive approach to chasing missed payments, it’ll give your business a bad name in your local area. More often than not, a hard and hostile approach to collecting money will only result in bad PR and an even lower chance of retaining the customer.

Are you in control of your funds?

Perhaps the most important thing to assess is whether you’re truly in control of your money. No collections service should be withholding funds from you or making it difficult for you to get paid. This includes charging hidden fees and deceptive pricing. You should know exactly what you’re paying and the level of service you can expect. Does the collections agency charge for failed payments, even though they haven’t successfully collected the money? 

Is the money collected ring-fenced by the collections agency? Ring-fencing protects your money and guarantees that it can’t be spent in other places by the provider. A lack of ring-fencing means that the money your members have paid might never end up in your bank account. Surprisingly, several well-known collections agencies are not ring-fenced, so make sure you have clarity on how your money is protected.

How to choose the right direct debit collections agency for your gym

To summarise, don’t be afraid to ask the questions we’ve discussed. A good Direct Debit collections agency will be able to answer each one in detail and put your mind at ease when it comes to collecting money. Look out for any red flags that might suggest poor practice or low collection rates. Most importantly, remember that Direct Debits should make your life as a gym owner easier, not harder!

ClubRight works closely with GoCardless to bring you a flexible Direct Debit solution that cuts through payments admin and keeps your members coming back for more. Offer flexible payment options, sign up new members in minutes and enjoy super low fees that will keep your rates competitive – all from within ClubRight.

Our product experts are on hand to assist with whatever you need. Give us a call on +44 (0)203 884 9777 or book your FREE online demo today.

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