In the United Kingdom, almost 60% of smartphone users now own an Android phone. As of last month, users with Android devices fitted with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology are able to use the new Android Pay service.
Quite similar to contactless payments using a debit or credit card, the service allows users to pay securely and easily with their Android handset, working in a similar way to the already established Apple Pay.
Apple Pay has been in use in the UK since last summer, with thousands of retail outlets – from sandwich shops to the London Underground – with thousands of customers using their phones to pay for goods and services.
Do contactless payments herald a new dawn for customer experience?
Many of the UK’s banks are have clamored to develop compatibility with Android Pay, allowing their customers to experience many benefits when it comes to spending their hard earned cash.
To many of us, this beckons a new era in customer experience – being able to spend more money, in more places, with more ease. But does this really equate to an overall improvement for those of us who bank with the Android Pay compatible banks?
The transaction, or act of spending money is just one small part of the overall customer experience in regards to consumer banking. Many people now dread actually going into a bank, or ringing the bank’s call centre – but this is often required, and preferable, when there’s a problem with an account.
Money is an emotional and important element of most customer’s lives. Sometimes we just want to speak to a person, be told everything’s going to be OK, and get things sorted out.
There’s more to experience than the digital
The customer experience and customer experience technology is a huge focus for the banking sector, but there seems to be a complete disregard for improving the experiences in traditional customer service functions. The human interactions between customers and brands might be few and far between in today’s world, where digital banking is the norm. But the truth is that these interactions are still memorable, significant, and have a strong ability to make or break the overall customer experience.
For example, imagine you’re using a contactless payment method to pay for coffee on your day off – and suddenly the transaction doesn’t go through because there is a problem with your account. Then you step outside and call the contact centre, where an automated message tries to direct you to their self-service website. Once you’re finally through to a customer service representative, they’re quite flippant and nonchalant about your issue.
As a customer, how would you feel?
No matter how convenient it is to spend money – the transaction process only consists of a sliver of the customer experience for banks. A poor phone interaction during a critical moment holds a lot of weight for how the customer feels about the band overall.
If we can assume this is true, then why aren’t banks scrambling to equip their customer service functions with cutting edge technology that enables their staff to deliver a truly great customer experience?
Empowering call centre staff to deliver memorable experiences
A bad experience on the phone with a bank’s call centre can be a common problem. One of the main reasons for this is that call centre technology is typically grey, poorly designed, and old. Traditional solutions place a huge overemphasis on efficiency and business performance. Efficiency is important for any operation, but not at the cost of employee morale, and ultimately, the experience they deliver to the brand’s customers.
Having an engaged and motivated workforce in the call centre is makes them perform efficiently, and with the needs of the customer at heart. Those investing in technology that not only enables their customers to benefit from new payment methods, but technology that makes call centre and customer service staff happier, engaged, and more productive is most important. These will be the brands that will win loyalty, a reputation for being genuinely customer-centric, and in the end – the most successful.
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