In 2020, providing a great customer experience is about meeting customers' ever-changing expectations. Customer experience has become a primary differentiator for many companies, and this extends to the payment experience. Your customers want to be able to make payments any time, anywhere. Your organization should enable them to self-serve on the channels they use most often – whether that's online, over the phone, or even text.
When it comes to tasks such as paying bills, customers want interactions to be effortless and straightforward. They don't want to jump through hoops to make a payment such as:
- having to register to make a one-time payment
- hitting a login screen
- having to wait on hold
- dealing with a clunky Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system
Tying Customer Experience to Adoption
Cumbersome user experiences and difficult to navigate payment channels lead to several issues, including lower electronic payment adoption rates, reduced customer satisfaction, and increased staff workloads.
Adoption of customer self-service (such as enrolling in autopay, e-reminders, or paperless billing), is the essential criterion when measuring a payment system's engagement. The more channels your organization offers, the higher the adoption – as someone who isn't willing to make an online payment may be willing to make a phone payment via an IVR. A clunky or awkward user interface will deter customers from paying bills online or over the phone, creating added work and headaches for staff members responsible for customer service and decreases the time they could be spending on other high-value projects.
Keys to Creating a Great Customer Experience
Features and channels aside, a best-in-class payment solution drives customer engagement by offering accessible, secure self-service. To provide delightful customer experience, focus on reducing friction, enabling secure transactions, and leveraging customer communications.
During the payment process, friction can be anything from a problematic user interface to a poorly designed IVR to a system that doesn't integrate well with other technology. Think about the last time you received a bill, either in the mail or via email. How many steps did you have to take between receiving the invoice and making your payment?
Reduce friction in the payment process by:
- enabling customers to pay any way they choose: online, by text, or by phone
- removing gates such as registration pages or login screens in online payment routes
- making it clear and easy for customers to understand their payment options
- making the transition from bill to payment as seamless as possible through clear communication, one-click pay options, and clearly labeled payment information
Enable Secure Transactions
When it comes to making payments online or over the phone, your customers want to know that their data and payment information are secure. That's why it's essential to select a payment solution with the highest levels of data security, to ensure company compliance and ease customer concerns. If your customers can trust your payment platform, they will be more likely to adopt online or phone payments instead of mailing in their checks.
Leverage Customer Communications
Depending on your business, it is likely that the billing process is the most frequent communication point your organization has with its customers. The billing contact points you have with your customers are some of the most critical interactions for driving e-adoption. Most customers won't go looking for options to enroll in paperless billing or auto-pay.
For these reasons, it's vital to think customer-first when designing your billing process. Encourage customers to pay online or over the phone and go paperless. For example, a significant driver of adoption is a message on the outside the bill envelope—known as a teaser—suggesting that customers can "Pay Online and Go Paperless." Similarly, an insert accompanying a paper bill or a note on an e-bill can notify customers of pay by text or IVR options.
Get Into The Minds of Your Customers
Great customer experience can make all the difference in your organization's e-adoption rates. We often hold off-site sessions to "get into the heads" of our customer's customers, and the emotional impact of tasks such as making a payment. This way, we understand your customer journey and how to advise our customers to make it exceptional.
To get into your customer's head, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why are they making a payment?
- Will it be awkward when speaking to a live agent on the phone?
- Is it difficult to pay online?
- Are all the payment options easy to discover?
- How many steps does it take to pay a bill?
- If they run into trouble, are solutions easy to find?
Try putting yourself in the customer's place, so that you can better understand the payment experience. From there, you can determine what you need from a payments solution partner to deliver exceptional customer experience because a satisfied customer is just that, satisfied. We want your customers to be delighted.
This is a guest post by Jim Barker, Chief Revenue Officer at IVR Technology Group.