The telecoms industry is one of the most competitive sectors in the UK, so if you’re looking to retain a competitive advantage then you need to be presenting your customers with a great user experience (UX).
One of the ways to do this is to make sure that your systems are properly integrated and that your customer journey is as seamless as possible.
Whether you deal with B2B, monthly subscription contracts or B2C pay as you go services or indeed a mixture of both, having a smooth method of payment will increase sales and profitability.
It may seem an odd question to ask but so often when we are buying online, we come across systems that are barely integrated at all.
The truth is that when a business is starting up, often seamless payment experiences can be the last thing that’s considered, and as a result, payment systems can be unintuitive and slow. The thinking being that it might be clunky and may not join up, but at least it gets your produce or service to market.
But where companies go wrong is that they forget that they need to revisit their systems at a later date to refine them. In other words, life gets in the way.
The problem is that the consumer these days is much happier to shop around and as millennials and generation Z become a larger part of the telecoms buying market they become even more important.
As Jasmine Glasheen says in a recent European Payments Council report:
“Millennials are a trend-setting generation, and they are known for being demanding and discerning consumers. They demand creative payment options that offer increased control, security and rewards such as cashback or free merchandise – and they are willing to shop around until they find the right platform”
For telecoms businesses, rigid payment systems result in a lower sale completion rate, greater customer churn and many more calls to your support line - so it makes sense to get it right.
If your customers don’t get the user experience they expect, or if competitors are offering an easier way, then it’s likely they will leave and you’ll never find out why.
1. The first step on the journey is to have a payments processing system that will properly integrate with your systems.
The fact is that many businesses assume that because a vendor says that their system integrates with other solutions, but often, the reality is somewhat different.
You need to make sure that your system is the right one before you start working on your integrations because the harsh truth is that there are some solutions out there that will never integrate properly with enterprise-sized software.
2. Another aspect you need to think about is volume.
Don’t be swayed by a system that may work well now at your current level because as you scale, it might not have the infrastructure to keep up. Your payment solution needs to grow with you otherwise you could end up doing exactly the same exercise in eighteen month’s time.
3. Finally, think about costs.
Many systems will integrate well - but at a price.
You need a payment processing solution that will handle the traffic, work well with your existing systems and won’t cost you the earth every month.
This may sound obvious, but it is a step that many people miss out.
You really need to make sure you set out exactly what you want your system to do before you start tying it into other aspects of your operations otherwise there’s a significant risk of scope creep.
Don’t be tempted to pack in every single option into the first wave of your implementation.
For example, integrate your call centre in the first phase of the project, then your website in the second phase and maybe your phone automation in the third.
Separate the functionality of the solution into ‘must-haves’ and ‘nice to haves’ and start with the important stuff first.
Segmenting your project makes the entire process much easier to handle and as you go along you can use feedback from each phase to make the subsequent phases run much more to plan.
One of the main things you need to look at when you are choosing a new payment solution is compliance. So before you go live, think about the PCI/GDPR/Data protection aspects of the system.
Are there any gaps between the different elements that may mean that user data is exposed?
Would the integration fail a PCI audit for example?
It’s really important to do this before you start implementing and most certainly before you go live.
Time spent testing is never wasted, so before you start to implement your payment processing integration make sure that you test it thoroughly with all types of user groups.
Start with initial internal testing with groups such as your payment processing call centre and your debt recovery team.
Then start to move outwards towards your customers but again, make sure you test thoroughly.
It’s worth doing an A/B test with your website, apps and automated switchboard so you can measure results against your old system. That way you can quickly spot areas that aren’t working well and resolve these before you make the solution live for your whole customer base.
At every step of the way, it is important that you document the thought process behind specific decisions and the lessons learned along the way.
For example, imagine that you find in user testing that there’s a conflict between one part of the system and another and you work out how to fix it by simply applying a specific setting.
But later the setting is changed without note, and you could spend hours of wasted time identifying what has gone wrong.
But with a properly documented project journal, you’ll have something to refer back to and ideally, before something crucial is changed.
It’s tempting to heave a big sigh of relief once you get your new telecoms payment processing system in place but don’t stop there.
Make sure you follow through with your project plan and integrate your new solution with all areas that involve payment processing.
And investigate other functionality that could help your business to offer more payment methods to your customers.
In short, use the implementation as the kicking off point for an iterative payment systems improvement process with regular small gains that will help keep you ahead of the pack.
Payment processing is too important to leave to chance, that’s why you need a partner you can trust that has the experience to make sure your integration goes as smoothly as possible.
Access PaySuite delivers next-level payment solutions that allow your customers to pay in the way that suits them.
With over 20 years’ experience in payments, Access PaySuite is designed to seamlessly integrate with your legacy systems to produce the ultimate in user experience and enhanced, enterprise-class reporting.
Why not book a free demo and see how PaySuite can transform your payment processing journey?