Online Payment Platforms and User Experience: 4 Red Flags

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Consumers’ needs are constantly changing—a fact that is more apparent now than possibly ever before. One thing, however, remains the same: your customers expect an outstanding user experience (UX) throughout every interaction with your organization, from customer support to online payments. When it comes to making payments online, customers want to pay their bills whenever and wherever they want, and on the device of their choice. A poor online payment UX can lead to reduced customer satisfaction, lower electronic payment adoption rates, and increased staff workloads.

When organizations choose an online billing and payment platform, they typically consider a number of things, including product features and system integrations. The problem with comparing online payment systems this way, however, is that a feature checklist doesn’t paint the full picture of a system’s performance. The best solutions are designed to improve the user experience and drive customer engagement. This leads to increased e-adoption—meaning quicker collections, decreased lobby traffic, and improved time and cost efficiencies for your organization.

At the end of the day, you should choose a solution that will best benefit your customers. But how can you tell if an online payment system isn’t designed with the user experience in mind? Here are four red flags to look for when choosing an online payment provider to ensure the solution is helping your customer satisfaction and adoption rates—not hurting them.

When an online payment system has not been designed with the user experience in mind:

1. The interface is difficult to use
Often, customer service representatives receive calls about customers having trouble making payments or enrolling in services like AutoPay or paperless billing. If it’s that difficult for a customer to make an online payment, why would they? Customers want an effortless experience, and that doesn’t include having to register or log in each time they need to make a payment. When choosing a solution, make sure the user interface is simple, intuitive, and user-friendly.

2. Customer communication is poor
In most relationships, communication is everything—and collecting payments is no different. When it comes to paying bills, customers expect to receive notifications about upcoming automatic payments, reminders about when a payment is due, and more. Even if you are sending these communications, are they clear and understandable? E-bills that are not clearly branded for your organization may end up either in the trash or ignored completely. Lack of clear and consistent communication makes it difficult to engage customers–and without properly engaging your customers, it is difficult to drive higher e-adoption and self-service rates.

3. Payment options are limited
Consumers like to get things done whenever and wherever they want—and the same goes for making a payment. When implementing an EBPP system, be sure to give your customers options. Whether it’s a payment portal on the web, a mobile app, an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, or pay-by-text functionality, offering omni-channel options is crucial. Providing more options can lead to higher adoption rates, too. Regardless of how many options you offer, the user experience should remain the same across all channels. Customers should have the same effortless experience making via phone that they have on the web, too.

4. The technology is outdated (or difficult to update)
By now, you’ve probably heard of Software as a Service (SaaS). SaaS is a licensing and delivery model that offers customers all the benefits of an application without requiring continuous software upkeep by in-house staff or a third party. If an EBPP system isn’t SaaS, all enhancements, security patches, new features and updates need to rolled out on an individual client basis—taking an enormous toll on your IT staff’s time. When it comes to the payments industry, there are a few key advantages of having a SaaS solution versus an on-premises or hosted solution. Firstly, it’s easy to scale to meet your business needs since it uses configuration rather than costly and time-consuming customizations. Secondly, your software will always remain up-to-date with the latest security patches and features with no additional maintenance on your part. Finally, it ensures the complete security of customer data by storing it in individually partitioned databases—providing outstanding performance in a monitored and secure environment.

As you consider online payment systems, ask yourself a series of questions to determine the likelihood that a solution will successfully achieve the e-adoption rates you’re looking for, such as:

  • Do customers have to jump through hoops to pay or see their bill?
  • Is it easy for customers to make an online or mobile payment?
  • Can customers easily and simply enroll in paperless billing, auto pay, or bill pay reminders?
  • What options are customers given to pay their bill?
  • Are customers engaged at every available contact point?
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    Try putting yourself in the customer’s place, so that you can better understand the online payment experience. At the end of the day, the best online payment solutions will consistently engage your customers to drive greater e-adoption rates and deliver the best possible user experience.

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