We’ve heard the saying “the customer is always right” over and over again, but are companies actually providing products and services that really put the customer first? Today marks the launch of TALKINGTECH’s frictionless customer-facing payment and collections service, Webpay, that allows organisations to serve their customers with the ability of paying with ease.
Webpay operates by enabling companies to send an SMS to their customers that reminds them to settle payments and in turn, send end-customers a unique URL so that they are identified. Phil Stark, CEO at TALKINGTECH highlighted that this is necessary because not engaging with customers negatively impacts revenues.
“Webpay has been designed as a customer-centric tool that effortlessly addresses this issue, based on our extensive experience in developing and delivering payment and collection technologies,” Stark said. Alongside this, at TALKINGTECH’s inaugural Future of Digital Payments and Collections event yesterday, Grant de Leeuw, Global Sales Manager at TALKINGTECH explored their digital roadmap for the future.
Leeuw explained that there has been a change in payments services from segmentation to personalisation and this is where knowing your customer becomes increasingly important as we move into a more digitalised world. He went on to say that planning out what your next best action would be can be critical to your relationship with your customer and the success of your business.
Removing friction at every stage of the customer journey is essential in this day and age, and Leeuw states that “the UX guy is as important as the guy who built the website.” It’s all about how we can make it easier for the customer, which is why TALKINGTECH are currently working with Tensorflow and machine learning, as well as taking advantage of the open APIs in Whatsapp and integrating with this messaging application. In addition to this, their innovation lab is developing a service called Pay by Selfie.
Jonathan Williams from Experian UK was a guest speaker at the event and he highlighted the importance of putting the customer first whilst being compliant to the various European regulations that are being proposed. The PSD2 deadline, as well as the new CMA Retail Banking deadline is fast approaching and it questions whether payments services providers and banks will be able to transform in time.
Williams said that despite the decision to leave the EU, he believes that a Brexit will not be finalised by 2018, so he advised both sides of the financial landscape to prepare for compliance to the new regulations. “I would put money on us not leaving the EU by January 2018 and we would have to implement it in 2018. Regulations will not go away overnight and we can’t escape new UK laws, we are bound by these things.”
The biggest change between both versions of the PSD law is the access to accounts given to third parties in order to act as a middle man and manage accounts or make payments on behalf of the customers if needed. Williams gave the example of Zapp Payments, funded by VocaLink, but the service they provide is proving to be efficient because customers need choice so they can pay how they want to pay.
Alongside this, with the evolution of fraud, customer authentication in the form of biometrics is becoming more popular. “This is having a significant effect on customer experience because these checks are difficult to insert into discussions that are had with customers and could put them off despite the benefits of regulating payments service providers,” Williams said.
Williams continued to explore how improvements are being made in the direct debit space where account ownership needs to be confirmed prior to payments being made. With the emergence of online banking, protecting the customer relationship is ever critical and confirming accounts will minimise the risk of fraud.
Customers want more choice and are becoming less patient - this is why the payments industry needs to learn from the gaming industry. Williams explained how this industry offers its customers a variety of different ways to pay and this has been successful in terms of conversion rate.
“There will be an evolution across payments. Direct debit won’t die but there will be a slow drift to other systems, something similar to what we’ve seen with faster payments,” Williams predicted. He also said that it all depends on how you define a payment as just saying that it is merely the movement of money undervalues the power of the transfer and it is necessary to know the purpose of the payment.
“The data that goes along with the payment is vital to the reconciliation of your processes. The cost of the payment is not enough information and the 18 characters in the name field is not sufficient enough to identify accurately.” Williams explained that regulators are looking to enhance this data capture and ensure that the right information is inputted.
With applications like Venmo becoming increasingly mainstream, customers are viewing payments in a different way and expect to be able to make payments whenever they want, but Williams told the group of payments professionals at the event that they need to remember that they might know more than the new entrants.
We should be much more confident in payments services and in turn, we should be educating customers about how to protect themselves.