Making Payments Disappear - Taking Money should not get in the way of Making Money
Although it is good to focus on getting paid, to keep the engine of prosperity humming along, the mechanism of payment should not get in the way of the fundamental business value you offer your customers that creates revenue in the first place. To get there, first you must create an exceptional customer, or user, experience in order to get the revenue. Therefore, while having an efficient, secure, and easy to use payment system for your customers is an important part of their experience, your priority should be on designing the best possible experience throughout so they return and tell their network about your extraordinary service, support, selection, value and interaction as well as how good a job you do on making payments easy.
At its core, customer experience at any level is fundamentally a consumer experience and derives from the perception a customer has from any situation where they interact with a business that is based on both conscious and subconscious impressions. These impressions come from certain expectations that they have established about an experience with a business. They want it to be efficient, easy, enjoyable, convenient, secure and memorable. And, if their experience doesn’t have these components, they are less likely to return to that business whether it is offline or online.
A Three-Pronged Approach
To create a better user interface or experience, there are three main things you need to do:
- Learn what defines the optimum customer experience for your audience and determine the areas where improvements need to be made. That means surveying your customers. At the most basic level, you can do this through surveys with tools like Survey Monkey and others that deliver convenient surveys to your customers’ email address. Or you can conduct a formal survey using in person tools and third party survey organizations. You should also track inbound customer commentary on the experience they are having with your business. These insights can be compiled to identify patterns in responses that tell you what your customer base thinks about their experiences with you. From here, you can begin to address areas of improvement.
- Leverage resources and tools that are available to enhance all aspects of the customer experience. These include user testing and to get some ideas you should take a look at the company called, yes, User Testing, including their resource center full of tips and tricks that can improve your user interfaces, such as your website navigation, load time, shopping and purchase process and mobile version of your website. Look at each specific area that your customer survey highlighted and put in pace a program to improve it.
- Start making the necessary improvements immediately, if not sooner! Even if you would like to take on all the changes at once, it’s better to take it one step at a time, starting small and then continuing to implement over time. Make sure you also put in place measurement methods so that you can tell if your changes are working. If they aren’t it isn’t a disaster, simply iterate and move on to the next approach. Think of it as a journey that you are focused on rather than on making money because taking this trip will get you to where you want to be financially and even improve on revenue goals.
Top Customer Experience Tactics
While not every tactic on this list may be applicable to your business and the areas where you need to improve, these provide an overview of the types of changes you may need to start making:
- Deliver complete visitor privacy to your website so website users feel safe and comfortable using your website and supplying certain personal information for future contact or purchases. This means deploying more security layers and updating all processes to ensure compliance. It also means providing comprehensive privacy policies so that your users can be confident in what you are doing.
- Tweak your website so that it performs intuitively no matter what device your customer is using. Consider adding greater functionality and testing how easy the site is to use, including web page loading time and responsiveness. This is especially important for mobile devices. Do not make the mistake of thinking that if your platform is aimed at enterprise customers and is complex that you don’t need to pay attention to mobile. You do.
- Respond in real time to customers and offer various channels for them to reach out with questions or requests for help, including your call center, instant messaging, help desk content, and email. Different customers may prefer various communication channels so make sure you cover as many bases as possible. All your responses should offer consistency in message and delivery so that customers feel confident that they will get the assistance they expect no matter what channel they pick.
- Provide omnichannel options that speak to the way the customer may like to do business. This can range from the growing preference for the “click and collect” shopping method where customers can order online or through their phones and then pick up the merchandise in the store the same day to a more formal in person sales process. This connection between your online and offline presence should be seamless, so that all customers experience is something that is easy and convenient for their needs.
- Further personalize all experiences with each customer, leveraging data that you have that shows their purchase history to determine their interests. Then, you can use that information to offer them customized promotions and content as well as recommendations for new products and services that you know would interest or assist them in some way.
- Make the most of your social channels to further connect with your customers so they know you care about them even when they are not having a direct experience in terms of buying something from you. This is where you really need to forget about the money and focus on having the customer at the heart of what you are doing. Get involved in conversation with your fans and followers, share additional content with them on these platforms, and ask them for their opinions. When they see you paying attention to the comments they leave, your customers will feel good about the experience and carry that perception through every interaction they have with your business in the future.
Across every channel, platform, and situation that involves your customers and prospects, you will be creating some type of experience that will leave them with a certain impression of your brand and business. That impression will determine if you get their money and loyalty, so put your heart, mind, and soul into each interaction because it will pay off.
How does this tie back in to payments? Well payments are also part of the user experience and you don’t want your customers to suddenly see pop-up windows and interruptions from third-party sites that have branding different from yours. Best case scenario it is annoying and worst-case they don’t connect that experience with the payment scenario and abandon, concerned about security. So you want to integrate payments as fully as possible and as simply as possible so that the user experience doesn’t signal that payments are a disruption and difficult but instead that they are a simple, normal part of the flow of a transaction. Don’t let the payment get in the way of making the money.