(Really) Understanding the Payments Experience

Tracy Borreson on January 7, 2020

Payments; everyone has them. Whether you're making your monthly credit card payments, monthly insurance payments or payments on a retail credit card, they're part of our daily lives.

What we often forget is the experiences that can come along with payments; if we consider them too transactional, we miss a HUGE opportunity to use these interactions to build a stronger relationship with our customers. After all, what other relationship gives us a monthly touch? 

How can you improve your payments experience?

Reduce Guilt: no one likes feeling guilty. We have enough of that from other parts of our lives, we don't need it from our bank, insurance provider or favorite retailer. And unfortunately, a lot of payment reminders are focused on creating guilt so that people will pay. But we forget how that makes people FEEL. And once we create a negative feeling, that experience taints the rest of our relationship. 

Payment reminders don't have to make someone feel bad. They can (and should) be used as an opportunity to empower a customer to take an action. In our whitepaper, "The Key to Reducing Financial Delinquency Rates Is All in the Voice", Intuit stated that, "It was shocking for us...that customers were more comfortable getting the SPLICE message than speaking to a live agent".

In this example, an automated, permission-based call, allowed Intuit to eliminate the guilt associated with a missed payment, and give the customer their power back by giving them the options they need to pay. A great way to use that touch point to empower versus dis-empowering their client.  

Remove Roadblocks: how difficult is it for your customers to pay you? Do you use a single payment channel? Or are you allowing payments wherever your customers are? Using the right channels for payments, that make it EASIER for customers to pay you, is a huge plus. 

To exemplify a poor payment experience, I once signed up for an in-store credit card with a retailer to get 20% off. the retailer was in the US, and guaranteed me, a Canadian, that I could easily make the payments (because I specifically asked). Upon receiving my first invoice, I logged onto the website to pay the bill. But they won't accept transfers from Canadian bank accounts. Then I call the call center, thinking surely I can make a payment over the phone. Nope. I need to MAIL a check...to Texas. I mention that I will mail the check tomorrow but that since the payment is due today, it can't possibly get there in time. Can someone put a note on my account so I don't get a late fee? Sure they say. I mail the full payment (overnight with extra postage). And I receive another invoice the next month with the late fee. Which I again have to MAIL to Texas.

I have never done business with that retailer again. AND I told everyone on social media about it.

It's just not worth the risk to be blinded to how your customers want to pay you. 

Stay Consistent: payment communications are a great way to show consistency, since they are often monthly. But it's also a great way for inconsistencies to arise. Are you sending aggressive collection messages once someone goes overdue, but not informing them that their credit card is expiring? 

This is a breakdown in the payments customer journey. If you want to make sure people are paying you on time, you need to create those consistent gentle reminders that allow them to feel the nudge, but still maintain a good experience with your brand. 

Often in branding and communications exercises, these touch points are ignored, and I hope you can begin to see how including them in your planning can add a positive impact to your brand. 

Improving the Customer Experience

All organizations are looking for on-going ways to optimize their customer experience. So, why would you overlook those opportunities that are staring you right in the face? A positive payments experience not only leads to a better overall experience for the customer, but a better cash flow for you as well. 

Looking for a Technology Partner that can help you measure the experience and make the right changes? The team at SPLICE would be happy to help. Schedule your consultation today!