Taking customer centricity seriously – the payments landscape

Take a look at businesses across every sector of the economy and you will find reams of rhetoric about customer-centricity. Yet, in reality, with the demands and expectations of today’s customer changing so rapidly, not every organisation will truly have its finger on the pulse – a potentially fatal error.

The landscape is no different for those in the payments industry. Consumers and businesses want to buy and sell goods more easily and it is the role of payments providers to make this a reality. This is why we have conducted in-depth research to find out exactly what it is our customers and the wider market are looking for from a payments provider, as well as uncovering the role that payments play in their businesses. Without this insight, customer-centricity becomes nothing more than cheap rhetoric.

The value of service with a smile

First and foremost, we have found that improving payments solutions is not being taken lightly by businesses. In fact, 24% of SMEs rank it as a top priority, as pressures grow to keep the experience as convenient and seamless as possible for consumers.

This directly reflects what these merchants expect from the payments provider they choose to do business with. Customer service and personal contact have been cited by small businesses as the second and third most important factors in selecting a vendor, priorities that are beaten only by price. Among large retailers this also holds true, with 78% of this market stating that customer service and support is the main deciding factor in their decision. Underpinning the importance of customer service is being easy to do business with, which has been highlighted by 69% of our large retail customers, as their primary concern.  A failure to address these issues will not just see satisfaction levels drop, it will have a negative impact on the wider business regardless of whether it is a multinational or local company.

Making payments pay

Within this context, it is entirely logical that the main driver behind payments being assigned more of a strategic role within organisations, is customer service. As far as 53% of large retailers are concerned, their e-commerce or omni-channel payment solution plays a critical role in shaping business strategy focused on improving the customer experience. Ultimately, if a customer has an issue at the checkout, online or in-store, a merchant runs the risk of wasting all of the time and resources that have been invested in perfecting every other element of the customer journey. There is no doubt that it is a pivotal part of the business-consumer relationship.

It is no longer a nice bonus to deliver a smooth payments experience. If a consumer has to wait too long, has their card rejected or aren’t able to pay via their phone, that can be enough to take their custom elsewhere. It is for this reason that payments are playing a critical strategic role in businesses across the economy. The value of making buying and selling easy cannot be underestimated.