With shops, pubs and restaurants re-opening their doors and hairdressers working all hours to keep up with demand, the future looks promising for business. Rob Crutchington of Encoded shares his three-point checklist for businesses as they prepare to welcome back customers with a new-found confidence to spend, spend, spend.
Strategists and economists are predicting a similar consumer boom to that seen in the Roaring Twenties, between the wars and after the Spanish Flu pandemic. A time of prosperity, partying and hedonism not seen for decades in the UK. The original Roaring Twenties were mirrored by an economic boom in the US.
It is easy to see the parallels with today. Just as companies adjusted to the increase in online purchasing during the pandemic, now is the time to prepare as customers start to spend again with a new-found confidence. At the frontline of customer services, contact centres should take the opportunity to review their existing systems as businesses take the dust covers off the tills and open the doors. Here is a three-point checklist to prepare for success.
1. Providing customers with different ways to pay
Customers often have preferences in terms of how they pay, and it makes good sense to look at what works for existing customers and whether adding new ways might attract extra business. Providing more choice and making it easier to pay can help to improve the customer experience and cashflow:
- Pay by phone – many customers prefer to contact a contact centre to make payments over the phone. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) offers an easy to way to accept payments for customers wishing to pay without speaking to an agent.
- Speaking to an agent – offering Agent Assisted payments can be a good way to increase efficiencies, while still maintain customer loyalty by delivering the personal touch.
- Online payments have increased rapidly during the pandemic with working and shopping from home. Online payments have given many businesses a lifeline to continue trading. For customers it is quick and easy to make web payments, and with stored card details, straightforward for repeat purchases.
- Going mobile – with less opportunity to visit shops and banks, using a mobile device has provided a convenient way to pay bills and check balances. Sending a secure link to a phone that opens up to a payment form makes it even easier for customers to pay securely.
2. Ensuring payment security and protection from fraud
Whichever payment method customers choose, security is vital to protect both the retailer and the customer from fraud. Any business that stores or manages customer details and card data must have robust, secure processes and systems in place.
With online payments, the introduction of Secure Customer Authentication (SCA) has made a significant difference to providing customer confidence when buying from an ecommerce site. SCA (often referred to as multi-factor authentication) assures the card issuer and acquirer that the transaction is genuine. Another advantage of SCA is that the retailer is protected from fraud, since any unauthorised payments are covered by the card issuing bank.
3. PCI DSS compliance is a necessity, not a nice to have
Compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, (PCI DSS) is essential when accepting payments, whether online, by a customer’s phone, digital channel or speaking directly to an agent.
Failing to meet compliance and protecting customer data adequately can result in financial penalties and charges, damage to a business’ reputation and loss of customer trust.
No one size fits all for compliance since every organisation is different and costs can also vary depending on the complexity. The simplest way to achieve PCI DSS compliance is to work with a trusted payment services provider that is PCI DSS Level 1 compliant. It provides absolute confidence that customer payment data is secure.
The light at the end of the tunnel
It has been a dark time for both customers and businesses, with economic and job uncertainty, yet as the new vaccine is rolled out and retailers and restaurants start opening their doors again, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Providing a choice of secure payment options as well as an accessible service for customers will be critical for business success in this revitalized market. Businesses that choose to work with a trusted payment services provider can reap the rewards with efficiencies in payments and the peace of mind that customers’ data is secure. Plus create a more positive customer experience that will pay dividends now and in the future.
About the Author
Rob Crutchington is Managing Director of Encoded.
Encoded is a leading Payment Service Provider and pioneer of new and innovative secure payment solutions for contact centres. Encoded offers a range of card payment solutions designed to help organisations comply with PCI DSS, GDPR and the newly introduced Payment Services Directive (PSD2).
Encoded’s solutons are trusted by many of the world’s leading brands including Samsung, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Műller and Virgin, as well as a host of UK utility companies such as Green Star Energy and Severn Trent Water. Solutions include: Agent Assisted Card Payments, E-Commerce Payments, IVR Payments, Mobile Apps, PayByLink Mobile Payments and Encoded Gateway Services. For further information please visit www.encoded.co.uk