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Why omnichannel payments are crucial for a seamless customer experience

David Gebhardt, Barclaycard managing director of payments, looks at why omnichannel payments are vital for customer experience. To find out how we can support your business, call our payment experts on Unique ID:321147/0800 096 8237*.

Customer experience (CX) has always been key to the customer-brand relationship. In an increasingly digital world this is more challenging than ever, as it demands a positive and consistent experience across multiple touchpoints.

In 2019, Barclaycard commissioned a survey of British businesses to collect insight on CX within payments. The results were eye-opening.

It revealed a practical understanding in the UK that customer experience is crucial. It also highlighted the fact that multichannel experiences are, or should be, a thing of the past. Going omnichannel – creating a unified, seamless operation between multiple touchpoints – and ensuring the shopping experience is fused across all channels is the new priority. 

An omnichannel customer experience

When not properly optimised, the customer payment journey can be full of friction points. Some of these necessary friction points – two-factor authentication or 3D Secure – are the result of security measures and exist to protect the consumer from fraudsters and cybercriminals.

That said, according to the survey, 89% of businesses believe it is either ‘very important’ or ‘fairly important’ for all of their customers to have a seamless payment journey. A similar number (84%) felt confident that the payment journey experiences they were offering their customers were ‘strong and positive’.

89% of businesses believe it is either ‘very important’ or ‘fairly important’ for all of their customers to have a seamless payment journey.

While this evidences an evolving realisation around omnichannel, there is a distinct lack of consistency when it comes to understanding whose role it is in an organisation to be responsible for customer experience. Just 16% of businesses who responded to our survey said that they had a specific CX team. Furthermore, 22% of organisations surveyed said that no-one in-house was responsible for CX.

This is particularly interesting considering the fact that omnichannel payment solutions promise to evolve significantly over the next five years. Half a decade is an extremely long time in the world of payments and my view is that the pace of change will continue with the smartphone soon replacing cards as the payment vehicle of choice for consumers.

Authentication methods and solutions too will fast improve, with consumers already becoming more comfortable using biometrics to securely access their mobile payment and banking apps1

This has a significant impact on how corporates decide where to invest in the right payments technology. And this is also reflected in the response that businesses gave in our survey about pay tech innovation. Just under half (48%) agreed that innovation in payment technology (e.g. mobile payments, contactless etc.) has a direct impact on customer experience.

By adopting new payment innovations and working with the right providers, businesses can also ensure they are in a position to gain insights from their payment data which can in turn help to drive better customer experiences.

Adapt for omnichannel success

In our opinion, businesses have no other choice but to either adapt their existing solution, completely change their way of working or risk losing customers. For example, the retail industry is being massively disrupted by the concept of invisible payments. The prime illustration is Amazon Go, the partly automated convenience store where customers are able to purchase products and exit without the inconvenience of using a cashier or a self-checkout station2. Retailers need to respond to this kind of innovation, and fast, otherwise their competitors will get there first.

Businesses have no other choice but to either adapt their existing solution, completely change their way of working or risk losing customers.

And this brings us back to the importance of having an omnichannel payment strategy. While 23% of business surveyed said that they had an omnichannel strategy, a huge 56% revealed that they didn’t.

Our approach at Barclaycard is to create the strategies, products and partnerships that avoid this situation and ultimately provide consumers with a first-class frictionless shopping experience.

For more information, read our whitepaper on redefining advantage in CX and how multichannel customer experience is giving way to an omnichannel approach.

Survey methodology

Barclaycard commissioned YouGov to run an online survey on payments and the customer experience. The total sample size was 627 adults with fieldwork undertaken between April 1-3, 2019. The sample size was weighted and is representative of British business size.

1 https://identity.utexas.edu/assets/uploads/publications/Consumer-Attitudes-About-Biometrics.pdf (PDF, 750KB)
2 Catch the third wave in invisible payments: https://bankingblog.accenture.com/catch-third-wave-invisible-payments?lang=en_US

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