Merchant of the Month: iGO Lenses
The great thing about providing Direct Debit services is that our client base is full of different companies that provide interesting products and services. One of those companies is our merchant of the month for August – iGO Lenses.
“When setting up iGO, our unique business model was completely dependent on establishing an efficient and cost-effective method for collecting monthly payments from new lens wearers which provide our primary source of income. Working with SmartDebit, we created a direct debiting system which has been rolled out to most of i-GO’s opticians and delivers a reliable service so that we are confident of monies being paid on time every month. The SmartDebit team are highly knowledgeable and extremely professional so that queries are dealt with promptly and we are confident that as iGO grows, the first class SmartDebit service will continue to support our expanding and more complex requirements.” – Malcolm Hughes, Managing Director, iGO Lenses
What iGO Lenses do…
iGO contact lenses provide overnight vision correction through the science of Orthkeratology. The lenses have been specifically engineered to correct short-sightedness whilst the user is asleep, removing them in the morning for perfect natural vision.
Short-sightedness occurs because the eye ball is too long. iGO’s overnight contact lenses work to correct this by acting as a jelly mould which gently flattens the cornea by less than a hairs width. This alters the angle at which the light enters the eye, focussing directly on the retina rather than in front of it, and because the cornea is elastic, the corrected shape will remain for at least 36 hours.
Why did iGO need to collect payments via Direct Debits?
iGO’s business involves partnering with high quality independent opticians around the UK who can be trained to fit the unique custom-designed overnight contact lenses. After the initial lenses are fitted, the customer then has lenses replaced every 6 months and is provided with an aftercare plan which covers the costs of replacement lenses, cleaning solutions, 6 monthly eye health checks and an annual sight test. The best way of spreading customer payments for this plan – and ensuring both the optician and iGO got paid promptly – was to require iGO customers to pay for their aftercare plan by Direct Debit.
What were payment arrangements like prior to Direct Debits?
Many opticians relied on patients to pay in the practice each time they were asked to collect lenses and cleaning solutions but patients would sometimes not turn up for an extended period leaving the optician with unpaid lenses and iGO with no payment at all! Like many healthcare practitioners, opticians tend to rely on trust that customers will pay their bills on time and attend the practice when they are contacted. However, human nature means that such trust is often misplaced with painful commercial consequences. The solution to this was to require customers to sign up to a Direct Debit scheme thus removing all the uncertainty and unpredictability relating to payments.
What are the benefits/savings for iGO achieved through collecting by Direct Debit?
Direct Debits are easy to administer, provide confidence that customer payments will be made on time and ensure that the unique lenses are not ordered only to subsequently remain uncollected and unpaid. This has resulted in improved cash flow and has removed the administrative workload and cost of chasing customers for payment. Overall, Direct Debits are a merchant’s best friend.