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Case study

Turning communications into actionable engagement

Wednesday 16 November 2016 | 08:35 AM CET

Lisa Fugate, i2c Inc: There’s both an art and a science to making sure communications turns into true engagement

The tools you need to build top of wallet engagement today’s consumers want

Engagement is a common buzzword in ecommerce and retail, and other industries, but in the world of payments, it has a specific meaning. In payments, engagement is about a consumer experience that goes beyond a transaction. It’s about building loyalty, improving the frequency and relevancy of valued interactions, and increasing usage. What all businesses have in common is that engagement starts with communication. There’s both an art and a science to making sure communications turns into true engagement, rather than just background noise. The temptation for many in our industry is to focus on the sexy front-end experiences (the “art”) rather than on the “science”— the technology that allows financial institutions to sculpt, paint, and create them.

At the highest level, communications can be classified into three categories: noise, information, and engagement. Today’s interconnected, social, and mobile consumers are processing more information more often. Communication from their bank that has no immediate value or relevancy simply becomes part of the background hum. Information, like statements and service notices, can be important but doesn’t necessarily differentiate a financial institution’s brand or service offering.

Engagement happens when communication is valued, meaningful, and timely and prompts action and interaction. This occurs when information is relevant and personalized to a cardholder’s individual situation, and is delivered in the right format over the right channel at just the right time.

Key engagement components

Card issuers’ ability to deliver valuable customer communications and engagement experiences depends on the underlying payments processing platform that possesses key capabilities:

  • Context: Context-based commerce and communications in payments means to be able to understand and act on preferences, external events, entitlements, purchase history, and pertinent cardholder information that is relevant at the exact moment to create personalized, powerful relevant payment opportunities and experiences. While older payment processing technology is context-blind, modern, agile processing platforms with advanced real-time analytics capabilities are architected to be context-sensitive.

  • Proactive insight: Providing consumers with personalized and actionable information, communicated at the right over the right channel gives them the control to better manage their money. For example, consumers can set up a ‘lower price alert’ that searches for better pricing after a purchase and helps initiate a refund to take advantage of a low-price guarantee. This type of engagement is proactive and works in the background. With a little effort on their customers’ part, a card issuer can help them save money while achieving tremendous brand loyalty.

  • Integrated omnichannel delivery: It goes without saying that these capabilities must occur across channels and customer touchpoints. Today’s mobile and social consumers want to engage with their trusted financial brand over multiple devices and the channel of their choice.

Actionable engagement: supporting the customer lifecycle

Enabling ongoing two-way dialogue empowers customers and can drive revenue. Here is a good example of how a modern, agile processing platform supports engagement before, during, and after a purchase. Based on contextual information like purchase history and geo-location, a consumer receives a digital coupon offer on her smartphone while shopping at her favorite retail outlet. She decides to take advantage of the sale, and the discount is automatically applied to her rewards card at checkout. Real-time digital commerce is neatly blended into her shopping experience, enabling a natural extension of integrated loyalty and rewards.

Engagement is no longer just about issuers pushing out marketing messages. It also can reduce risks and costs, particularly when it comes to customer servicing and support. Having to call a service center with an issue is always frustrating for a cardholder. What if at the end of the call, the representative can offer an upset customer a credit for a free coffee to thank her for her patience. The offer is added to the cardholder’s account, and she immediately receives a notification on her smartphone for a coupon that can be automatically redeemed during checkout at her favorite café.

This simple interaction turns a situation which could have been detrimental to the program into a positive experience that increased customer satisfaction and continued usage.

Card issuers that communicate with their customers with timely, relevant, and actionable information build loyalty and engagement that goes beyond just the transaction at the end of a purchasing journey. Curating this type of experience requires a flexible, agile payment processing platform with a context-sensitive data architecture and advanced integrated engagement tools like omnichannel web and mobile delivery, card controls, and multi-step alerts that give consumers more control over how they budget and spend their money. Next-generation payments processing technology enables financial institutions to embed buying opportunities into the commerce stream and deliver the improved customer satisfaction and increased usage that comes with top of wallet status.

About Lisa Fugate:

Lisa, Vice President, Credit Processing at i2c, is responsible for the management and growth of i2c’s credit processing solution and has over 16 years of leadership experience in marketing, product management and sales at technology focused and financial services companies. Lisa held leadership roles in product marketing for First Data’s Financial Services business, supporting the financial services sales channel, large merchant sales channel and product team, and product marketing. She has also held senior product and marketing roles within the retail and transportation industries.

About i2c:

i2c provides smarter payments and integrated commerce solutions that give financial institutions, corporations, brands, and governments around the world the control to deliver the high-impact, personalized experiences today’s consumers expect. i2c’s single, global cloud-based platform supports virtually any card-based, virtual, and mobile payments program as well as loyalty and back office solutions. Our customers use i2c’s Agile Processing platform to create and deliver profitable, customized credit, debit, and prepaid solutions that meet the highly differentiated needs of cardholders in 216 countries and territories.

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