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The latest thinking from Eckoh

Contact Centre of the Future Part 4 - Payments
Tuesday, 18 February 2020

How will customers make purchases via the Contact Centre of the Future? In the fourth part of our series, Ashley Burton, Head of Product at Eckoh, examines what's ahead for payments.

Payments of future 900

Last time in our series, we talked about the Managers of the Future and how they'll use data and leading-edge tools to manage contact centre teams and deliver outstanding experiences to customers.

Change will also impact the payment services they provide.

Old and new, side by side
The payments landscape is evolving rapidly with new innovations entering the market and establishing a foothold faster than ever before. This will continue - and the way we make and process payments will need to adapt to meet the needs of the Customer of the Future. 

One trend that’s already evident today with Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Pay by Bank App and other e-Wallet solutions is that payments will become more diverse. But, as new payment methods arise, the older and more traditional methods will remain — meaning that merchants will need to support an increasing number of payment options available across a broad range of technologies. 

After a decade of being an emerging technology, the cryptocurrency eco-system will begin to create user-friendly implementations, driving mainstream adoption. This may be traditional cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin or from new entrants to the market tied to consumer services such as Facebook’s Libra. 

The ability to make payments and send money might also spread further into the social space with companies such as Facebook and Twitter looking to emulate the success of AliPay and WeChat/Ten Pay in China. 

Instant completions
It’s not simply about offering choice though. Customers will expect transactions to be completed and verified instantly via every channel, with no delay in seeing the results reflected in account balances.  Merchants will need to make sure their payment solutions are fully integrated into customer journeys and back-office systems. Consumers will no longer accept messages like 'your balance will be updated within 72 hours' or refunds taking days to process. 

The future will also see an increase in the ways that customers pay, with payments being made on the customer’s behalf by AI assistants. In fact, with the rise of the Internet of Things and the Smart Home, the ‘Cardholder Present’ or ‘Cardholder Not Present’ descriptions to which we've become accustomed may not be sufficient to describe the marketplace. How about 'Assistant authorised'?  

There will be a mindset shift from ‘I am buying something’ to ‘I am doing something’ and two new categories of payments will begin to dominate: 

  • Cardholder Authenticated Services (CAS): These are human-initiated payments via connected services such as on-demand media and subscription-based services, and
  • Cardholder Delegated Authority (CDA): These are where devices and AI-assistants are making payments to merchants on behalf of their users, where strong authentication is handled by the device and users grant AI assistants the responsibility for managing and asserting their identity.

Voice-print recognition
Identity and security are key to managing payments of the future.  Biometrics will take centre stage with fingerprint readers on credit cards and smartphones, facial and iris recognition becoming commonplace. Meanwhile, voice-print recognition will help secure payments via voice assistants, IVRs and also help prevent fraud in the contact centre. 

Behavioural and contextual security will allow merchants to make decisions about payment acceptance and fraud risk based on where the customer’s location, whether they’re using a known or trusted device, their typing speed or touch-screen pressure pattern and a model of their previous purchasing and browsing style. 

Thanks to the FinTech boom, the success of challenger banks and the popularity of Open Banking, customers will expect to be able to monitor, visualise and manage their finances in a way that's simple and brings connected services together. 

‘Life management’ apps
Going beyond the Open Banking paradigm, we will see the rise of ‘life management’ apps that bring together finances and marketplaces. These will help consumers to purchase products and services within the context of their available funds, and allow them to conduct reverse auctions where suppliers bid to provide products and services to consumers at the price they set, all potentially managed and conducted by AI assistants.  To make this work, merchants will need to expose their products and services through other apps via APIs. 

The increased control that consumers demand will extend to when consumers pay for goods and services.  With the rise of ‘buy now, pay later’ services such as PayPal’s Pay After Delivery, consumers will expect to control when and how much they pay. This will signal the end of the ‘you pay me when I say you should’ era and beginning era of  ‘you pay me when you want to, using whatever payment method you like’. 

Standards will play a significant part in the payments of the future with the payments industry responding to a need for increased security through an increasingly stringent PCI DSS, backed up by governments and regulatory bodies taking payment security and data protection more seriously. 

Strong authentication
Laws such as the European Union’s Payment Services Directive (PSD2) that mandate Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) for transactions will be extended to cover more channels including voice as well as having parallels implemented in other territories.  Emerging standards such as EMVCo’s Secure Remote Commerce and the World Wide Web Consortium’s Payment Request browser standard will bring much needed security and consistency to online web-based payments. 

Changes won’t just be restricted to how payments are made and processed: The very nature of the payments being made will change with a likely trend towards smaller on-demand purchasing of content and services with the long talked-about era of micro payments becoming a reality.  Streaming payments will allow web browsers to purchase content from behind paywalls easily without disrupting the user journey and cryptocurrencies will make the exchange of small values easier.

Although the marketplace has come a long way with payments already in recent years, the Contact Centre of the Future will experience major changes in the years ahead — not least in the area of voice payments. For more on that, see Part 5 in our series – The Future of Voice, due out next week.

If you like the way we’re thinking, take a look at the Eckoh Experience Portal. It gives contact centres all the channels and payment solutions they need to transform customer engagement, protect data and achieve PCI DSS compliance. With new services and features becoming available when they’re needed, you can keep up with soaring customer expectations and maximise satisfaction – without having to rip and replace your systems endlessly. Everything you need can be added quickly, easily and cost effectively. 

To find out more about what the Contact Centre of the Future holds, download our insightful guide. Or, get in touch if you'd like to know more about contact centre technology

About the Author

Ashley Burton

Ashley Burton

Head of Product

Ashley joined Eckoh’s contact centre in 1999 and over the last 20 years has worked in a variety of roles including project management, business analysis, data warehousing and mobile application development before becoming Head of Product.  Ashley is passionate about identifying emerging technology and applying it to contact centres to improve customer experiences, and deliver outstanding engagement and trust.  Ashley leads and curates Eckoh;’s product roadmap, fostering innovation throughout the business. Ashley identifies emerging technology and applies it to contact centres to improve customer experience, realise Omnichannnel solutions and deliver outstanding engagement and trust.

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