Customer service and the cashless society

Today’s Post By: Neil Parrott, Senior Manager, Enterprise Report Management

Billing issues – including actual or suspected fraudulent use generally top the list in terms of customer frustration. After all, your hard earned money is at stake. Thinking about customer service, most of us can recall good and bad experiences. Bad experiences may be based on difficulties contacting a vendor or merchant, such as reaching an answerphone message, or being endlessly passed around an automated call handling system. Perhaps you succeed in making contact with a real person only to be passed between different departments, all the while having to re-explain an issue and eventually to be told ‘we will investigate your inquiry and get back to you in the next few days’.

Good experiences are a result of prompt and efficient inquiry handling either by phone, or, the option to serve yourself – via an online portal. You explain an issue once and the organization quickly responds to the matter and, perhaps, provides you with additional useful information about relevant products or services that may interest you.

To combat fraud and promote usage, payment companies are gradually moving us towards a cashless society. Tap and pay has been available for several years in the UK, but, since there is no authentication, payments are limited to the equivalent of $35 – $40. Apple Pay promises to overcome this issue with fingerprint or Watch authentication. But the future envisioned by Mastercard avoids the need for pin codes and passwords by integrating payment and security technology into wearables – with persistent biometric identification.   The nymi wrist band provides authentication based on your heart’s unique signature (Electrocardiogram or ECG) to authenticate and confirm your identity while you are wearing it. Could such seamless payment systems eventually pave the way towards a cashless society?

Recently Forrester Research Vice President and Principal Analyst Craig Le Clair led a webinar titled “Statement Presentment in the API Economy” in which Craig and I discussed emerging trends in bill presentment, on-line payments and customer self-service in the API economy, all of which have to do with this new “cashless society. Do you pay with your phone? Do you think before you swipe?

One thing is certain, all of these cashless payment solutions will lead to a rapid increase in volumes of transactional data and statement information. Efficiently managing and presenting these financial records will be essential to the overall customer experience.