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Incentivizing Customer Behavior Change: Customer Self-Service Trumps Hidden Fees

Customers Don’t Like Hidden Fees

A recent Gizmodo article highlighted the fact that some telecom companies charge customers high fees for paying their bills over the phone with a representative. Depending on the company, these fees ranged from $5 to $8 per transaction. With the large customer bases these companies have, those fees could result in millions of dollars in extra revenue.

You can imagine this would be like going to a grocery store where the self-checkout was free, but having an employee scan and bag everything for you had a $5 fee attached to it.

Why Companies Don’t Want Agents Processing Payments

You can make your own assessment of the merits of this approach, but without pointing fingers it might be worth thinking about why companies are doing this. Processing payments using agents presents a number of potential security risks.

It’s also expensive to have agents helping customers with rote tasks that can be done more easily through automation. Self-service payments frees up representatives to provide higher touch service to customers with complex issues.

We see this all the time. It’s very expensive and time-consuming to get a contact center of live agents PCI-compliant. There are a number of potential risks when agents handle customers’ sensitive financial information.

Understand Customer Wants and How to Address Them

Some customers probably assume it’s safer to have another human process their payment because that way they know it went through and there were no issues. After all, if something goes wrong they’ll have to call back and dealing with an agent in the first place eliminates having to do so.

But given the security risks involved with agents processing payments, the onus falls on companies to 1. Do a better job of offering fast, secure, automated payment options over the phone, and 2. Educating all of their customers about how the process works and why is more secure than giving your credit card information to a total stranger.

Embrace Customer Self-Service

Here at Plum, we make solving the first problem easy. With our Fuse platform, companies can use our pre-built payment processing application. Fuse is PCI-compliant so customer data is always secure. Our payment app is optimized using years-worth of data to ensure the payment process over the phone is easy, fast, and efficient.

Companies concerned with PCI-compliance likely already know why it’s so important, and therefore, already have the tools and information to re-package that information in a customer-centric way.

A Better Way

When companies implement self-service payments not only does that speed up the payment process for customers, but it also helps agents. In this situation, if something did go wrong with a payment, that customer could call and talk to an agent and resolve the issue quicker because that agent wouldn’t be tied up full call queue of rote tasks. So even if something went wrong, the total time on the phone would possibly be less than the old way, where customers sat in a long call queue and handed over their financial information in a risky security situation.

Drop us a line if you’d like more information about payment processing over the phone, or about any of our apps or platforms. We can save you time and money and help you improve your customer service all at the same time.

Contact us with any questions.