Herman Blackie, co-owner and sales director of the health club chain Zone Fitness Clubs, credits payment service provider Sage Pay with making the financial management of his nine clubs more efficient and improving cash flow.
“We process thousands of debit orders every month” says Blackie. “Our previous payment provider was completely inflexible and we had to do a lot of manual changes to each month’s debit order run. We could manage in the early days, but once we’d opened our fourth club it became impossible. We needed an efficient, automated solution that offered good reporting.”
Managing debit orders and payments online through Sage Pay has made life much easier, says accounts manager Abby De Lillie. “With our previous provider it was impossible to verify account details before we did a debit order run, and we’d get a lot of rejected transactions,” says De Lille. “Now I do a quick verification run and within a couple of minutes I have detailed information of every account that’s rejected, so we can easily check and correct details in time for the real debit order run. We also get much better reporting on unpaid accounts, which we can feed directly into our club management system so that we can send prompt reminders.”
Blackie confirms that Sage Pay’s ease and transparency has made administration much easier. “We just couldn’t have done it the old way with nine clubs, it would have been far too labour-intensive.”
More importantly, says Blackie, “I have a great relationship of trust with Sage Pay. The corporate world is littered with white collar crime and there are no guarantees, so you need a service provider with a good track record. Sage Pay handles R3.5 million a month of our money, securely and efficiently. They’re also extremely accommodating and helpful – they never say no.”
Blackie says that although Sage Pay temporarily retains 10% of collections as security, “the banks typically want more, as well as having higher transaction costs.”
“You also can’t negotiate with banks,” he adds. “With Sage Pay it’s the people who actually own the business who are making the decisions, not managers who just follow the rules. It makes them much more flexible and easy to deal with.”