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With increased adoption, digital payments have become the preferred modes of transactions for not only metro dwellers, but also for consumers in the hinterland of India. Offering a smooth customer experience has become more crucial than ever as it could lead to high drop offs and huge cost for businesses. Today, payment stacks are built to make sure everything works together seamlessly without any disruption. These payment stacks get seamlessly integrated with merchant applications providing a user-friendly payment experience, thus increasing conversion and improving revenues for businesses. Also, with these payment stacks, introducing newly launched payment options have never been easier and faster. No doubt, a smart and effective solution like Payment Orchestration Platform (POP) is gaining popularity amongst businesses and helping them build competitive advantage in their area of operation.
To provide an insight into this evolving landscape, Worldline recently concluded Rise - an online panel discussion on Targeting Business Growth with Payment Orchestration Platform.
The discussion was moderated by Usha Shankar, Associate Vice President, Head Platform Business, Ingenico (a Worldline brand).
Current challenges that industries face while ensuring seamless payment experience for end customers
Jaya Janardanan: Since COVID-19 hit us almost a year back, one of the most debated subjects of the century is online payment. The banking sector faces challenges with respect to payment processes on multiple fronts. Both liability and asset customers need to make cash, online or EMI payments. As an organisation, we must ensure seamless integration with multiple partners and customers alike.
As bankers, ensuring safe transaction infrastructure for customers is a challenge. To handle multiple partners to ensure seamless integration is, in itself, a big challenge. From an operational point, ensuring that these systems work well together, is a challenge all of us face. This is something that we, as an industry, battle with.
Anand Sharma: I work in an investment and brokerage set up where there is strong regulatory involvement. The amount of money involved is very high. In this industry, for any kind of investment, the player that invests and the person from whose account it is used, should be the same. In other industries, you can use different credit cards or transfer money through different bank accounts. But here, it must be from the same account. The main challenge is to map whether the person who is transferring money and the person with the account are the same or not. For physical signatures or checklists to go away, third-party verification must be simplified and that is a big challenge right now. Our process of mapping multiple accounts to one account or vice versa becomes very difficult. If this is solved, then the payment setup can be very streamlined for us. In this industry, if there is even a minute delay in transferring money, then it is an opportunity lost.
Anand Sharma: Payment Orchestration will help us alter the way payment gateways charge. Other payment platforms charge on percentage basis. In this case, if the amount of investment is big, then giving them the money back, based on the percentage, will not be viable for us. An orchestration platform can give us the flexibility of specific charging models that will help users to a great extent.
Jaya Janardanan: In financial services, we are in a buyer’s market. A customer stays with you when he/she understands that you can fulfil all their requirements. In a scenario where a customer’s bank account is linked to the BHIM app and a problem occurs in a transaction process at the bank level or in the app, the customer will get irritated and shift to other payment providers. If customers struggle with simple payments, our efforts to move them to digital platforms will not bear results.
With regards to payment orchestration, every service provider looks for a platform where transactions can easily move on to other payment options without the customer having to log in and log out or even getting to know about it. This is the kind of seamless transaction that customers are looking for.
Byju Joseph: POP is a new technology in the payment space today. It is managed by a new breed of middleware payment facilitators who connect to multiple payment arrangements or PSPs. We had implemented POP as soon as it was available, and we benefited from it.
There are 3 stages of payment orchestration:
Checkout – POP provides a universal checkout option to customers and they can choose any payment option, based on their preferences. During the customer journey, POP understands these preferences and applies a default payment gateway, regardless of location. POP provides wallets, banking options and credit cards, and can provide even crypto currency, if allowed in the future. That is how orchestration helps provide a better checkout experience.
Routing – A seamless routing process without the customer knowing is ideal. Routing can be done best when customers share their details, which we save, and the transaction can be routed easily.
Settlement – POP offers a guaranteed settlement, and a customer should not be initiating the transfer again.
POP is the way to go. While we cannot control the end-point infrastructure (customer reaction), PSPs like Ingenico can monitor their centralised infrastructure by offering token exchanges and blockchain technology solutions.
Byju Joseph: ‘How did your payment go through?’ is the first question we ask customers. Our net promoter score (NPS) was +10 a year back, and now it jumped to +35. This helps us retain customers. Our decision to implement POP turned out to be remarkable in a duration of only nine months. The checkout window reduced from being a minute long to half a minute. This helps customers make an informed decision.
Anand Sharma: Customer experience is only one part of using this middleware. The other part is that POP has neutralised the need to analyse success rates of different vendors as customers or merchants are automatically redirected to successful payment gateways. This will eventually improve end-to-end processing of backend systems. We are evaluating these factors and seeing that there is a lot of merit in POP.
Jaya Janardanan: When we speak about increase in business, we look at providing our services at a lower cost, leading to better customer experience. Since we sit on a mine of data, it is critical for orchestration platform providers to use artificial intelligence (AI) and understand customers’ transactional behaviours and their requirements. POP can serve as a platform where backend infrastructure is well integrated with interoperability of the service providers, so that customers can operate from one platform.
On being asked about how complex or easy it is to integrate POP, Byju Joseph sided with POP and not a payment gateway. It is one platform that takes care of checkout, routing, reconciliation and settlements, and enables good customer experience. To meet customer expectations and business outcomes, it is imperative to opt for a digital payment platform that prioritises customer experience.
Jaya Janardanan says, a customer does not leave you because he does not like your product; he leaves you because he has a bad taste of experience. It all comes down to customer experience that will lead to business growth. On tokenisation to secure consumer data, Byju Joseph was of the opinion that we need to ensure that the customer has full control over their details to authenticate the payment process. This must be done in a secure and transparent manner, by involving vault implementation so that the consumer has full authority. It is something that every service provider should offer.
According to a poll on reasons to implement Payment Orchestration Platform for businesses, 76% chose seamless customer experience, 31% opted for reduced costs, 55% chose reduced complexity in managing payment infrastructure and 28% opted for faster introduction of newer payment options. Thus, it is necessary for businesses to switch to POP to retain customers and provide them with an everlasting experience. The POP is a one-point solution that will provide a one-of-a-kind digital experience to consumers and merchants alike, which would take your businesses ahead.