Learning to use new software is part of the job for us as Virtual Assistants, and with small businesses I never cease to be amazed at the amount of useful software and cloud based business solutions available to us as small business owners. Whilst the majority of us will take pride in the fact that we are quick to learn how to use most programmes, it can still be frustrating when your customer asks you to assist with their latest time-saving find, but you then need to find the time to figure out how it works! Over the next few months we’ll be putting together some easy step by step guides on how to carry out regular tasks in some of the common (and not so common) used programmes for small business, starting today with GoCardless.

GoCardless in a nutshell is “Recurring payments made simple” an easy, and relatively affordable solution for businesses which makes collecting customer payments by Direct Debit simple for just about anyone.

In order to collect Direct Debit payments from customers, you first need to set up that person in your GoCardless account and gain their permission to take recurring payments. They will also need to set up a GoCardless account if they don’t already have one (but not to worry, the clever people at GC have made this setup process frighteningly easy so that even the least tech savvy and most time-poor of users can get setup up in no time!)

Setting up a new customer – the manual way

  • Login to your GoCardless dashboard and from the main menu click Customers
  • From the top right hand corner of the page click Add

 

GC Customer Import (1)

 

 

  • You’ll then see a box appear, with a menu on the left hand side – you can choose to add an individual customer, multiple customers or get a link to add to your website
  • Select Individual
  • Fill in as much customer information as you have – most important are name and email address

 

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  • If you have a payment plan already set up – for example if you have a specific product that requires a fixed amount to be paid each month, then you can check the box labelled ‘Add to payment plan’. You’ll then be able to choose from a list of your available plans and when your customer signs up, they will be added to this plan

GC Customer Import (8)

 

  • When you are done, click Ask for authorisation
  • Your customer will then receive an email with details on how to set up their GoCardless account. If they follow the link in the email they receive, it should take just a few minutes for them to authorise the account and then you’ll be ready to start taking payments

Setting up multiple new customers – spreadsheet import

Of course, if you have a number of new customers to add, the manual import may be too time consuming. If that is the case then you can also import multiple customers at once with a spreadsheet import.

  • Login to your GoCardless dashboard and from the main menu click Customers
  • From the top right hand corner of the page click Add
  • You’ll then see a box appear, with a menu on the left hand side – you can choose to add an individual customer, multiple customers or get a link to add to your website
  • Select Multiple
  • You’ll see the upload screen appear, with a link to download a CSV template, into which you can enter your customer details. Click the link to download the template

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  • Open the template in Microsoft Excel or similar programme and fill in as much customer information as you have – most important are name and email address. Save this file somewhere on your computer, and ensure that it is saved as a .csv file.Note: this is important, if saved as an Excel Workbook file, you will receive an error when you try to upload the file

 

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  • Now go back to GoCardless to the screen for uploading Multiple Customers
  • Click ‘choose file’ and browse to the location of your saved list of customers and select the file
  • When you are done, click Upload
    Note: 
    I know I tend to get a little bit panicky when uploading files as i like to double check everything! But no need to worry as you’ll have a chance to review the uploaded file before it gets sent to your customers!
  • On the next screen you’ll see a progress bar, and will receive a notification when your contacts are ready to review. Click Review

GC Customer Import (3)

 

  • If the details on the screen are incorrect, you can choose to ‘Discard Upload’ and start again. However, if you are happy with the upload then click ‘Import Customers’

 

GC Customer Import (2)

 

Your customer will then receive an email with details on how to set up their GoCardless account. If they follow the link in the email they receive, it should take just a few minutes for them to authorise the account and then you’ll be ready to start taking payments.

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