Not surprisingly, a positive customer experience (CX) enhances revenue growth. In fact, in their 2016 study, Forrester found that CX leaders saw significantly higher revenue growth rates when compared to companies with low customer satisfaction.
It’s clear that customer experience affects customer loyalty levels, and because today’s society bases purchasing decisions on easily accessible ratings and reviews, this connection is quite logical. It is therefore crucial, that you build a strong customer satisfaction strategy for your business, whether brick or mortar, online, or multi-channel.
The number one way to do this is by optimizing your payment process.
The Payment Process Affects Customer Experience
While many factors play into the overall customer experience, the payment process isn’t one that immediately comes to mind. However, it is actually one of the most crucial elements in determining whether a purchase will be made or not. Streamlined, flexible and secure payment options contribute to a positive customer experience, driving loyalty and revenues.
In brick and mortar shops, long lines and dated registers that do not accept all of the current payment methods available can affect repeat customer visits. With the plethora of payment methods that exist today, ensuring acceptance of a variety of options, from cash to credit card, and from ewallet and mobile money, should be high on your list for immediate implementation.
For example, mPOS terminals enable roaming service providers improved customer service and streamlined payment, creating an overall positive customer experience.
Additionally, omni-channel payment implementation, where customers can shop at a brick and mortar location, yet easily checkout online, offers increased flexibility, and saves precious time, while increasing overall satisfaction.
For online stores, a streamlined and secure payment process is of the utmost importance. Lengthy or complicated checkout processes have been shown to account for close to 39% of US shopping cart abandonments, according to Business Insider. Slow payment processes and security and privacy concerns are also responsible for over 70% of shopping cart abandonment in the UK, according to Baymard Institute.
All PSPs are not Created Equal
In order to ensure customer satisfaction from the payment process, and to decrease shopping cart abandonment rates, it is imperative to integrate a solution which answers the above described needs for security, flexibility and ease of payment.
Not all payment service providers (PSPs), however, offer the same level of functionality and security. PSPs with advanced technologies improve the customer experience by providing the following advantages:
● Improved security
PSPs should offer authorization technologies integrated in their solutions to reduce fraud, protect transactions and safeguard sensitive data. Those which are PCI DSS Level 1 certified ensure the highest level of protection from fraudulent attempts.
● Ability to process and settle multiple currencies
Leading PSPs will accept multiple currencies, opening the doors to cross-border payments. Some providers even offer automatic currency conversion, providing the exchange rate at the time of payment.
● Faster and more efficient checkout
PSPs with advanced technologies can streamline the checkout process, and even offer one-click payment. This results in a shorter, and hassle free payment procedure, improving the customer experience and decreasing shopping cart abandonment.
Choosing a PSP
As different PSPs offer different solutions, it is important to review and compare offerings, in order to make an informed decision about choosing a payment service provider. When evaluating PSPs for your store or site, consider the following:
1. How well does the PSP fit your business?
As part of your strategy, it is important to define your sales process and determine which PSP integrates into that process seamlessly. Otherwise, you can find yourself paying for a PSP that offers more than you actually need. Or worse, using a PSP that doesn’t offer enough for your customers and ends up negatively affecting the growth of your business.
For example, if you own an ecommerce site, you’ll want to make sure that the PSP you choose integrates well with the backend of your site’s shopping cart, in order to enable a smooth checkout process for your shoppers without any glitches.
2. Is the PSP’s support easily accessible?
The service level of your PSP will dictate your response times when something goes wrong. Make sure the PSP offers fast and reliable support, 24X7.
Additionally, look for a PSP with experience in your market, as this provider will understand the specific considerations related to your business. And of course, it is best to choose a PSP that offers support in your native language.
3. Make sure the platform is highly secure
To ensure a secure payment process, it is best to use a PCI DSS compliant PSP. Include security badges on your payment pages in order to let your customers know that their sensitive information is protected, and that your sight is highly secure. This feeling of safety will decrease checkout abandonment rates and increase sales.
Another advantage of PCI DSS compliant PSPs is that they generally offer hosted payment pages with seamless integration and customizability. Merchants who choose this route enjoy the best of both worlds – a highly secure payment page, with PCI certification and multiple payment methods, which is seamlessly integrated into their site, without additional page design costs. And, your customers will not feel as if they have left the safety of your site during payment.
4. Ensure the PSP accepts multiple payment methods
A variety of payment methods are already commonplace in many places of the world. For instance, mobile money and QR remittances are replacing credit cards and cash in many countries.
As mobile device penetration reaches saturation and the millennial population, who see these devices as an extension of themselves become a major market segment, the move towards multiple payment methods on a global scale is expected to scale.
The global mobile wallet market reached $594 billion in 2016, and is projected to grow by a CAGR of 32% between 2017 and 2022, reaching over $3,142. Therefore, your chosen PSP should be able to handle all leading types of payment methods, from mobile money, to ewallets and QR codes, and of course all major credit cards.
5. Look for a PSP with an omni-channel approach
Not only will customers expect to be offered a choice between the payment methods of their choice, omni-channel shopping is becoming more commonplace, with customers enjoying the flexibility it offers.
Harvard Business Review has found that omni-channel customers spend an average of 4% more in brick and mortar shops and 10% at online shops than single-channel shoppers. This is because customers expect to be able to scout out products at brick and mortar shops, and then purchase online, or browse through options online, while choosing to purchase at their neighborhood shop.
Therefore, it is important to choose a PSP which provides coverage that can adapt to this trend by offering online and POS connected systems, for better personalization and customer analysis.
6. Find an all-encompassing platform
PSPs that offer an advanced platform for managing all of your company’s finances, such as incoming payment from sales, as well as outgoing payment to vendors and suppliers, drive efficiencies.
Advanced PSPs offer the option to settle payments directly from their platform, enabling users to split payments from a single incoming transaction between multiple vendors. Your PSP should also offer the option of receiving payment, to any of your preferred accounts, whether a mobile money account, a prepaid credit card or bank transfer.
The optimal PSP offers a host of advantages and efficiencies to any business. It is important to choose a provider that integrates into current and future payment strategies, and provides the support needed to assure easy implementation. An all-encompassing and highly secure platform is your best bet for driving business growth.
These advantages, along with a robust customer care team, enable you to focus on your customers, and ultimately grow your business.
Eran Feinstein is the CEO of Direct Pay Online, a global e-commerce and online payments solutions provider for the travel and related industries. With over 14 years of experience leading technology, sales, marketing and operation teams, Eran is an authority in the East African e-commerce and payments arena. He’s also an avid marathon runner.