Omni-channel payments: How to provide outstanding customer service through omni-channel payment technology
Today, customers expect to be able to make seamless, secure payments across multiple easy to use channels at a time when it is convenient for them. And customers expect their experiences across these different channels to be the same. A company’s mobile, online, pay by phone, call centre and in-store payment experience should be as simple and frictionless as possible.
While this may seem straightforward enough, and make complete sense, it does present challenges when organisations try and bridge the gap between customer expectations and technology.
IPSI’s flexible Omni-channel payment solutions can bridge that gap.
What is omni-channel?
‘Omni-channel’ is a buzzword you’ll frequently hear when discussing online, contact centre and in-store customer experience. Research by the Aberdeen Group has shown that companies with strong omni-channel engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of customers, as compared to 33% for those without.[i]
Specifically, omni-channel refers to the ability of a business to unify customer data (including payments data and acceptance) across all customer touchpoints. This can include contact centre agents, online payments, email, social media and mobile devices among others.
When your customer interacts with any customer service channel, that channel can process the same payment data as the other channels. This enables a seamless customer experience. These interactions can include reservations, billing enquiries and general customer service enquiries as well as accepting payments
The importance and impact of an omni-channel experience are profound. Customers can switch between different channels without the need to start over at the beginning of the process. In the past, customers would describe or try to resolve their customer service issue through one channel, only to be moved to another ‘department’ that was supposed to be better suited to manage the enquiry. When moved on, the customer information would be lost, and the experience poor as the customer would need to register their payment details again from the start. This situation would lead to frustration, security concerns and create unnecessarily long wait times to get the issue resolved and process payments. This is not an ideal situation for the contact centre or the customer and may even push customers towards your competitors.
Omni-channel vs multichannel
When discussing omni-channel, it’s important to be clear about the difference between omni-channel and multichannel. Multichannel only refers to the fact that there are a number of channels available for customers to connect with an organisation – but unlike omni-channel, they don’t have access to uniform payment data in real time.
An example of a multichannel experience would be if a customer tried to order a product online and found it to be out of stock, but then found the product in stock when contact is made with a contact centre agent. This disconnection in data between channels is often the cause of customer frustration. It’s not the type of experience customers expect these days.
Omni-channel provides a real-time perspective on the customer as they are on their customer journey as opposed to multi-channel which provides an inferior siloed approach. Customers and Staff, at any point, on any channel have information available that is consistent and up to date. This allows them to understand their current situation, but also able to see (and acknowledge and build on) past interactions.
Omni-channel presents a united front to the customer across all channels. This allows a consistent customer service message and makes the customer feel personalised and valued. It is this positive experience that increases customer retention rates, sales and repeat orders.
Omni-channel payments – how to implement multiple, secure payment options.
When it comes to accepting payments, most organisations accept multiple payment options. But they are usually siloed across different channels or business units.
To provide a true omni-channel payment experience, all these payment channels and business units need to access a single, omni-channel payment processor which can process data and payments from multiple channels to financial institutions in real time.
Benefits of using a single omni-channel payment solution.
Omni-channel payments allow the acceptance of payments across multiple payment channels via the one processor, rather than using different suppliers for different payment channels, e.g. IPSI can provide a diverse range of highly flexible payment channels with connectivity to all of the major banks in this region.
Customers today typically start their shopping experience within one channel and finish on another. Research by Worldpay[ii] shows that 80% of smartphone shoppers use their mobile in-store to help with shopping and that omni-channel shoppers spend 50% to 300% more than single-channel shoppers.
Typically, customers that shop with an omni-channel payment solution is more likely to stay connected to the shopping process. This means a reduction in shopping cart abandonment and ensuring a robust brand experience that not only increases shopping cart value but also increases customer loyalty.
Another benefit of such an offering is the ability to achieve security (PCI DSS) compliance across a diverse range of omni-channel touch points. This more centralised approach allows payment data to be tokenised no matter which payment channel is used. Payment data can then be sent through to one central processing service for secure data vaulting. This service can significantly reduce the costs, risks and lead times associated with PCI DSS security compliance.
Taking advantage of the omni-channel opportunity
Aligning payment technology with the expectations of customers is critical to the success of any enterprise. By helping customers to transact anywhere, at any time with speed and security, your customers will spend more and be more likely to return as regular customers.
IPSI can help you achieve this through its secure enterprise payment services. To find out more, get in touch with our team today on 1300 975 630 or fill out our website enquiry form.
[i] Demery, Paul. “Why an Omnichannel Strategy Matters.” 31 December 2013. Accessed 1 May 2018 https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2013/12/31/why-omnichannel-strategy-matters/
[ii] Worldpay. “The Store of the Future and the Role of Omni-channel Payments in Driving Business Growth”, 2015