A focus on … automated payments
An interview with Simon Berney-Edwards, CEO at Expert Witness Institute.
Expert Witness Institute (EWI) has been a Silverbear customer since 2019 after the organisation’s then-incumbent member CRM supplier decided to move away from the not-for-profit sector and refocus its CRM capability – a decision that left EWI exposed. The board wanted to invest in a membership CRM platform that would remove risk, support growth, and add member value, all of which Silverbear 365 facilitates. So, when we partnered with ClearAccept – our sister brand’s multi-channel payment solution – it decided to incorporate this aspect of membership management, too. Here, EWI’s CEO, Simon Berney-Edwards explains why and outlines how it’s helped the organisation.
Was ClearAccept always part of the plan?
No. In fact, when we first went live with Silverbear, we were using Sage Pay – now Opayo – to handle the payments relating to over 1,000 of our professional members. However, it just wasn’t working well enough. It was really clunky from a user perspective. Not only that, but you were acutely aware that it wasn’t fully integrated with CRM and that you were going to a separate platform. It was working better than our previous payment system, but we were still having to carry out a lot of the processes manually..
Can you give an example of what wasn’t automated?
Refunds. We simply couldn’t do them via CRM. They should be easy to do – but with Sage Pay they weren’t.
When did you start to consider ClearAccept?
It was only when Silverbear announced its partnership with the solution. As soon as I heard about it, I was keen to look at it.
What do you feel are the key differences between ClearAccept and Sage Pay?
From a user perspective, ClearAccept is seamless. As it all takes place within the Silverbear 365 framework, you don’t feel like you have to leave one platform in order to carry out a transaction. From a staff perspective, the difference is huge. Now, if we need to carry out a refund, it can be done in seconds via CRM. Prior to this, it was taking us three minutes. Our payments infrastructure is so much more streamlined these days. Another big bonus is that ClearAccept is more cost-efficient. We’ve probably saved around 50 per cent on transaction costs compared to what Sage Pay was costing us.
Have you made any other savings as a result of using ClearAccept?
As CEO, one of my key priorities is to ensure that employee time is used efficiently. I’m always looking at ways in which to free our team of burdensome activities so that their time can be used in more productive ways. As a result of ClearAccept, my finance manager now spends less time manually managing payments and more time on identifying new leads – things that we didn’t have time for before. I’m focussed on squeezing every ounce of functionality out of our membership CRM system in order to reduce team admin. ClearAccept’s integration with Silverbear 365 makes this much easier.
How else has ClearAccept improved EWI’s processes?
We used to take a lot of payments in cheques and we also had people wanting to be invoiced, both of which are admin-heavy. As soon as we went live with ClearAccept, we were able to manage every aspect of payments via CRM. From 1 July to 31 October last year, we handled a volume of payments that would have taken us 15 hours to process using Sage Pay and our previous CRM supplier. Now, through Silverbear 365 and ClearAccept, it takes less than two hours.
Is there anything else that stands out?
To a certain extent, when I think about ClearAccept there’s nothing striking that stands out with regards to how it works. The fact that nothing stands out is a testament to the product and illustrates just how seamless it is. You don’t have to think about it. It’s easy to use. Previously, payments were the bane of my life. Now, I can log in and see the entire organisation’s payments working away in the background. I don’t have to do anything with it, I know that the data is flowing through effectively and that it’s all being managed well. I have so much more time these days as a CEO to do the things that a CEO should be doing. I can be more proactive and more visible rather than having to worry about the mechanics of how our system’s working.
Looking to reduce transaction costs and the amount of time spent manually processing payments? Contact the Silverbear team to discuss how integrating ClearAccept could help free up time that could be better spent on growing your membership, or watch our on-demand webinar on integrated payments with Silverbear 365.
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Details on ClearAccept
Watch payments webinar