I’ve got a few questions for you. Do you enjoy having new things? Well of course you do. But more realistically, do you love spending your hard-earned money to buy these new things? Not so much?
So why then, as a business, would you ever allow the most dreaded stage in a buyer’s journey to be more complex, time-consuming, and downright painful than it already has to be?
Customer experience — or the customer’s entire perception of your business as a sum of their interactions during the relationship — is often neglected during the payment portion of the customer experience journey. And this doesn’t really make sense.
As encouraged by Janet Jackson, many consumers find themselves asking businesses “what have you done for me lately” when it comes to evaluating their relationship. And considering payments are often the final touchpoint between you and your customer before they venture off and hopefully spread the good word of your business, a good payment experience is critical.
You Rarely Get a Second Chance to Make a Last Impression
It comes down to one thing. Recency bias. This cognitive bias urges our simple and impressionable minds to favor the most recent event as opposed to a historic collection of events. Simply put, your customers will remember the last experience with your business and that’s about it. A great overall experience capped off by a clunky, sketchy, or painful payment process will be all your customer remembers, regardless of the effort and positive experience provided in the other stages of the customer experience journey.
If you’re like us, you’ve found yourself pulling hairs trying to shop online once or twice, but then suddenly you stumble on a site or app that makes it a breeze. We ask ourselves “why can’t every company make it this easy?”
Here we’ll break down the best practices business can take to improve the payment stage of the customer experience journey, so that buyers will be asking this same question after interacting with your business.
Consistency Is Key
A golden rule in the payments industry is “Payments are touchpoints, not transactions.” Yes, the buyer will be evaluating the total value proposition and making a payment. But payments are a touchpoint, a stage within the customer experience journey, not something independent in itself. The quicker your business can make this distinction, the easier you will find it to keep the payment process consistent in feel to other parts of the journey.
So keep your payment experience on brand. Customize iframes or desktop workflows to keep themes, colors, and images or graphics consistent. Nothing turns away would-be buyers like a sketchy payment page that is a 180-degree turn from the rest of the site or app experience. No matter how fast or efficient your system is, customers will still expect a secure process where their money is handled properly.
A method for keeping this sense of familiarity and security in the payment process is to use customized keypads. Rather than having a generic operating system keypad, use a larger, more convenient, and on-brand keyboard. This will also prevent third-party hackers from capturing common touchpoints to gather customer information.
Considering payments are often the final touchpoint between you and your customer before they venture off and hopefully spread the good word of your business, a good payment experience is critical.
Customers Dig Control
No one likes feeling controlled. Your customers are no different. With the presence of subscriptions, freemium, in-app purchases, and other systems, payments have established themselves as the most common touchpoint between you and your customers. And you don’t want your customers feeling controlled in their most frequent interactions. Give them back their power and sense of freedom.
Nothing says you’re in my control like making a customer create an account prior to a purchase. Allow customers to check out the way they prefer. If they wish to remain an anonymous guest, I can assure you that allowing them to do so will leave a better taste in their mouth than forcing them into receiving hundreds of your email offers just to make a simple purchase. You can still offer incentives for signing up, but never make that mandatory prior to purchase. Retention is better with freedom.
Avoid Excessive Data Entry
Your technology should be able to pull the most relevant information without entry. The customer isn’t here for you, they’re here for themselves. Focus, therefore, on their end goal: ease of payment and security. Use camera or facial recognition, avoid asking for card type as this can be identified through card number, and pull the state and city from zip code, for example.
Provide Consistent Feedback
Ever finished updating your subscription or buying some gifts on a site and have no idea if your account was updated or the payment went through? You feel uneasy leaving the site and are constantly checking your bank account to see if things were processed correctly. Don’t ever leave your customer feeling this way. Use text, noises, graphics, etc. to provide feedback throughout the entire process. Allow your customer to feel completely sure of their actions and their completion. Make sure to review their payment options, display their balances and any previous purchases, and offer a downloadable receipt to confirm payment. They won’t leave your site with a nervous pit in their stomach, but rather feeling like you were their biggest cheerleader through the process.
Consider User Mistakes
Payments are touchpoints within the customer experience journey, remember? So lend your customer a helping hand as if this was the first point of contact. Prepare for user errors like attempts at repeated payments or sign-ups. Use simple text that feels on-brand ~no big fancy words ~ to clarify the error and provide a solution with clear next steps. Include short gifs, videos, or audio to guide your customers and have an FAQ page readily accessible.
Increase Payment Options
While Amazon surely doesn’t have a shortage of users, it may seem surprising that many PayPal users won’t find themselves on the site. Amazon doesn’t support PayPal so these users often take their business elsewhere. Amazon doesn’t need to worry, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. When trying to grow your business, you need to make sure all payment types are covered so you never lose a customer at the final touchpoint.
- Allow integration with digital wallets, NFC (near-field communication), and other contactless payment types
- Implement tokenisation: virtual numbers that mobile devices link from cardholder to card
Increased customer loyalty, customer satisfaction, word-of-mouth, retention, and reviews encompass the benefits of a good customer experience. Don’t neglect the final and most crucial step in the journey.
Don’t Let a Poor Payment Experience Derail Your Business
If leveling up your CX or payment experience is top of mind, but you could use some help along the way, then get in touch with us today.