While it might be nice to imagine a world where everything is completely free, consumers understand that they need to exchange money for goods and services in order to drive the economy. However, customers don’t want this process to be more painful than it has to. Giving away money isn’t something that most people enjoy doing, so problems related to the payment process can do more damage to customer satisfaction ratings than anything else.
Smooth Payments Translate into a Smooth Customer Experience
A rather dramatic example of this can be seen in a recent UK study regarding pay and display parking machines, which demonstrated that customers preferred to spend their money in parking facilities that featured an updated payment system. Car park operators modernized payment machines in several existing facilities and found that they were actually able to do additional business even if they didn’t promote their brand more than they already had.
Experts believe that some consumers might have previously been entering the parking lots and then leaving without paying. Some might have gotten extremely frustrated with the older payment equipment and ultimately left. In the worst scenarios, some people might have even parked without paying. By upgrading equipment with newer touchscreen-based devices, managers may have been drastically reducing the amount of time it took these customers to pay and get their receipts.
While this study might have only examined one single industry, it drew attention to a phenomenon that’s visible in almost every market segment. Offering clients a smooth payment process is extremely important when it comes to ensuring that they’re happy.
Unfortunately, that’s become difficult due to the balkanization of payment options.
Giving All Customers a Chance to Pay
Business owners once had to deal with a wide variety of check verification firms and credit card companies. Few people regularly pay with personal checks these days and most places accept all the major credit cards. However, payment problems are worse than ever for retailers according to some financial experts.
Approximately 60 percent of consumers said that being able to pay with a mobile device makes the billing process considerably easier for them. However, retailers are faced with a plethora of options when it comes to accepting mobile payments. There are several major digital ecosystems to contend with and a number of different types of accounts that consumers could potentially draw from.
Ensuring that a cash register is compatible with all of these options can be very difficult even before you consider the possibility that someone might want to pay with cryptocurrency. Nevertheless, it might be worth it to invest the additional time and money into upgrading POS devices because because there have been a number of instances where consumers preferentially shop at places that accept whatever payment method they’re invested in.
In some cases, customers might actually care more about access to their preferred payment method than even the price of what they’re buying.
Paying a Premium for Smooth Transactions
PayPal users have long been locked out of Amazon unless they use certain types of debit cards. While few people would argue that Amazon doesn’t attract consumers, numerous people have begun using other eCommerce platforms because Amazon won’t accept PayPal. People might even pay a slightly higher price elsewhere for the convenience and security that comes with using it.
Consider the fact that there are now countless different ways that people could pay. Individual consumers might ultimately feel locked into a particular payment ecosystem without the ability to escape. If a retailer takes only certain online options, then they may go elsewhere.
Retailers that take a laundry list of payment options are therefore poised to take over a healthier amount of business. However, there’s no reason that smaller companies should feel pressured into signing contracts that could eat into their profits. Firms that focus on revamping their sales services so they accept at least the most common innovative payment services should be relatively safe.
However, compatibility is only one aspect of the overall payment process. Consumers also can’t be bothered to deal with any problems when they’re cashing out.
Business Gravitates Toward Outlets with Few Problems
Most people have waited in line while a cashier tries to scan an item that has a damaged barcode. The process can sometimes take more than 10 minutes, which means that some of those who are waiting will get fed up and move on. Stores that end up with a reputation for this kind of thing will eventually start to lose business no matter how low their prices might be.
A few inexpensive upgrades might be all that it takes to prevent these problems. Even if retailers do need to invest more money into this kind of project, it might be worth it considering that it could theoretically lead to higher sales and a better image among consumers.
Addressing Problems to Ensure Smoother Payments
Small business owners in particular might want to begin keeping a list of every hiccup they’ve identified in their payment workflows. Some financial advisers suggest reviewing this list at least once a month. This should gives retailers an opportunity to put together a plan of attack to address any problem that’s bringing customer satisfaction levels down.
While some might balk at the price, upgrading and improving payment systems might be the most important thing businesses do to hold onto sales and secure growth in an increasingly uncertain marketplace.