First issue tax bills are right around the corner; is your Tax Kiosk easily accessible? By offering online payments on your Tax Kiosk you provide your residents with a fast, easy, flexible, and convenient way for them to pay their taxes with their preferred payment method without having to make a trip to your office or mail in a check. Accepting online payments is also convenient for you, allowing you to batch process the online payments within minutes and cut down on the time you spend manually entering payments, especially at the height of the tax bill season. However, you might not be receiving as many online payments if your customers are unable to locate your Tax Kiosk or are simply unaware of this great service you offer.
For example, below is an example of two comparable municipalities that accepted online payments in 2014:
Town A: Approximately 3450 parcels. Online payments for 2014: 625
Town B: Approximately 3300 parcels. Online payments for 2014: 85
Why such a dramatic difference? In addition to textual hyperlinks, Town A has prominent buttons on both the Town’s default homepage and the Tax Collector’s page of the municipal website, making it quick and easy to locate the Tax Kiosk. Town B requires you to click through five different pages on the municipal website to locate a small textual link which most people probably never see.
For example, which of these do you think is more likely to get noticed by a taxpayer:
Pay your taxes online here.
Actively promoting your Tax Kiosk will significantly increase traffic on your Tax Kiosk. In some cases, the usage is as much as 1500% higher in municipalities that actively promote the Tax Kiosk versus similar sized towns that do not. This usage translates directly into fewer telephone calls and counter visits at the office, not just from taxpayers making online payments but also from those that are able to review outstanding balances and payment status and answer their own questions.
Below are some tips on ways to promote your Tax Kiosk. Take a look, see if you have already implemented them, and if not, try implementing these tips and see if your online payments increase this year.
- Reference the Tax Kiosk on Your Actual Tax Bill
Something as simple as using the message lines or custom message on your printed tax bills to promote your tax kiosk can have a dramatic effect, especially when you first begin using the Tax Kiosk. Consider including the following message (or something similar) on your next tax bills:
“Review your outstanding balance and pay your bill online using an electronic check or credit card by visiting townname.nhtaxkiosk.com”
- Mention the Tax Kiosk on Your Phone System or Voice Mail Greeting
If your town office has an automated phone system (e.g. “For the Tax Collector press seven”) or a voice mail greeting consider updating the message (whether callers hear that message before you answer or only when no one is available) to include something like the following:
“Did you know you can now view and pay your property taxes online? You can access detailed balance and payment information, as well as make payments, twenty four hours a day, by visiting us online at townname dot nhtaxkiosk dot com.”
- Add Links to Your Town’s Existing Web Site
A powerful method for driving traffic to your Tax Kiosk is to provide prominent hyperlinks that allow visitors to your town’s web site to easily jump to your Tax Kiosk. The more prominently you feature the links the more effective they will be, so consider adding them both to your town’s default web page (i.e. the page which displays when users first land at www.townname.gov) as well as to any department-specific page which provides information about your office. Put it this way: if your phone number is more prominent on your web site than the links to your Tax Kiosk then you’re doing it wrong.
Avitar provides you with an image and the accompanying syntax your web master can use to generate the link. Anyone with basic web site skills should be able to create the links for you. It’s consistent with the overall look and feel of your existing web site – while you want the link to stand out, you don’t want it to clash with the rest of your web site. The syntax of the hyperlink should be copied directly as we have customized it to access your specific Tax Kiosk configuration. Your web master can use the specifications outlined below to add the link wherever you see fit. If you do not already have these links please contact Avitar Software Support.