Are you omni or out? Why omnichannel businesses thrive

Omni-channel is no longer a buzzword. It’s been proven that businesses that provide omnichannel experiences are likely to see increased loyalty and higher average transaction value (ATV) across the board.

The ol’ single-channel

Back in the day, every business started with a single-channel. In fact, some businesses still are. Just picture an old family bakery down the street whose baked goods are so fresh and tasty the whole town knows about it. Sometimes word of mouth and years of quality are enough to keep a business running for more than one lifetime, even while everything else changes around them. Nowadays, very few businesses are truly single-channel. Taking orders and addressing clients by phone already turns an old bakery into a multi-channel business. Moreover, any enterprise looking to meet their client’s preferences will need to develop an online presence at some point. So what if the old bakery decided to build a website and engage with their audiences through this medium? Well, that’s 3 channels.

From multichannel to cross-channel

Multi-channel businesses offer various channels, but these channels aren’t integrated. For example, you might visit the website and chat with a representative, yet go to the physical store and come to the realisation that they have no idea what was discussed and zero knowledge regarding your online purchase history. On the other hand, cross-channel businesses have integrated their channels and are able to identify their customers regardless of the channel they use. For example, purchasing an item online and picking it up in a physical store. Or another example, purchasing a voucher offline in a store and redeeming it online on the company website.

So what is omnichannel exactly?

Now, this is where it gets interesting. Cross-channel and omnichannel are fairly similar. So similar in fact, that some experts even disregard term cross-channel altogether. However, the main differentiator is the goal of achieving total and complete ubiquity. It’s a goal that businesses never fully achieve since the possibilities for integration are always evolving and new devices or technologies will always push the goalpost just a tiny bit further.

You know what they did last summer

Omnichannel is all about allowing consumers to access your services in a seamless manner, no matter the channel. Through it all, their identity is always known and the experience is always the same. Your website, app, physical store and call centres are one and the same in the eye of the consumer. He moves seamlessly through all of your channels without ever feeling any sort of disconnect.

 

Omnichannel leads to ‘omnifraud’

Going down the rabbit-hole makes a lot of economic sense. For starters, omnichannel consumers spend more! Also, omnichannel consumers are loyal and their loyalty travels along with them when they are abroad. Being an omnichannel business also means offering secure payments across all devices and platforms. Needless to say, fighting fraud on multiple fronts is a huge challenge. According to a 2015 report by ACI and Forrester Consulting, consumer thirst for omnichannel experiences have left retailers with more questions than answers. The report found that 65% don’t think they have access to the right fraud management tools to operate in the omnichannel world. More than half stated that company staff didn’t have the necessary skills to tackle omnichannel fraud challenges while only 46% said they had fraud management solutions across all channels.

How to eliminate omnichannel fraud?

The more sales channels in use, the more possibilities for fraudsters. A one size fits all approach doesn’t cut it. The fraud challenges in CP and CNP environments are quite different, as are the technical differences between devices and platforms. Simply put, fighting fraud in an omnichannel environment requires omnichannel fraud management tools and the right team of experts to manage them.

 

Are you offering your clients a safe omnichannel experience? If you’re not sure, you might want to give us a call. At Alphacomm, our goal is to secure revenue. To that end, we offer guaranteed payments and fraud consultancy services for the omnichannel environment. Get in touch with our team for more information on our business solutions.

Alphacomm Solutions whitepaper: how automated payment reminder systems boost your credit management performance

Andrew Collins New Business Development Manager

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Churn baby churn. A prepaid inferno?

For many mobile credit providers, the high churn in the prepaid industry is a cause for concern. Luckily, there are ways to combat churn and increase loyalty that don’t require giving it all away for free.

There’s blood in the water

In their 2005 business classic, Blue Ocean Strategy, authors W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne explained the difference between a blue ocean and a red ocean. Whereas a blue ocean is a clear and unexplored space with hardly any players and vast growth opportunities, a red ocean is marred by cut-throat competition.

Using this analogy, the prepaid market is definitely a red ocean. In fact, one of the challenges facing the industry is the high cost of subscriber acquisition (SAC) as a consequence of incredibly high rates of churn. Research by Juvo (2019) shows that in 2018, a whopping 90% of expenditure was spent on replacing lost subscribers. Sadly, this meant that only 10% was invested towards growing net subscriptions.

Effortless mobile top-up

What’s one major thing that customers value more than saving money? Convenience! Whenever a customer runs out of credit, she needs to decide whether or not to remain a prepaid customer and if so, with which provider. Whether it’s more data, or lower prices, prepaid providers are waging war like never before and many users are tempted to choose the flavour of the month.  When it comes to prepaid credit providers, prepaid users have a wide range of options to choose from. For many, this is a major bottleneck.

Unsurprisingly, the most dangerous phase in the customer life-cycle is credit top-up. Whenever a customer wades into the this red ocean, odds are they might end up gobbled up a competitor. So instead of lowering prices and investing in promotional deals like everybody else, wouldn’t it be smarter to simply improve the top-up process? Improving the top-up process means your customers get to keep their feet dry and stick with the provider they know.

Solutions to churn in the prepaid phone market

What if you could spend your time maintaining and growing a subscriber base rather than simply replacing lost customers? At Alphacomm Solutions, we believe keeping customers on board requires more than promotional activities and special deals. What’s more, we’ve got plenty of proven solutions to help you right the ship.

One way to differentatie your business from the competition and reduce churn is by offering automatic top-up. Automatic top-up works in various ways. It can either be triggered by a recurring date or whenever credit drops below a predetermined threshold. Other solutions include topping up via chatbots within popular apps such as WhatsApp as well as top-up via Paylinks or Amazon Dash Buttons.

Topping up mobile phone credit should be effortless for your customers. Get in touch to find out if our solutions are right for your business.

 

Interested in driving changes in prepaid phone plans to your company? Contact sales to arrange a free consultation.

If you have any question about our reload services please let me know. I’ll be happy to answer!

About the author

Alper Altan – Reload Services
Business Development Manager

I’m Alper Altan, Business Development Manager at Alphacomm Solutions. I make sure that Alphacomm maximizes profit on existing customers as well as new business.

More about Alper »


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How automated payment reminders reduce DSO

If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you know what it’s like to sell without actually making money. The very act of selling costs money and when customers don’t pay (on time), the cost of selling, coupled with overall costs of business can really put a strain on day to day operations.

It’s unfortunate that nowadays, fully staffed departments are needed in order to ensure due payments are received. From sending out payment reminders to making and answering phone calls with sometimes difficult customers, dunning takes up a lot of time and it also costs money.

There has to be a better way, right? How can businesses collect payments on time, reduce DSO and improve liquidity? The answer is automation.

Here are three big reasons why automated payment reminders are effective at reducing DSO:

1. Customer friendly

Stay friends with your customers by reminding them of due dates and offering a complete range of secure payment methods. When customers don’t pay, it usually comes down to one of two things: either they forgot to pay or they lack the funds to do so. In both cases, a friendly reminder along with a wide range of payment options is your best bet.

Automated payment reminders make this entire process a whole lot easier. For example, the available payment methods, including the option to pay later or in instalments can be selected and agreed to by the customer, without the need to converse with company staff.

Moreover, by sending personalised reminders, customers feel more at ease and in control. This is especially true for millennials. They respond well to a friendly approach. A 2013 poll found that millennials were more forgetful than seniors. Among the possible causes were high levels of stress. In a 2015 report by the American Psychological Association, this was proven once again. This generation, marred by high debt and financial stress could definitely use a bit of TLC.

2. Relevant and effective

The traditional letter in the mail doesn’t cut it anymore. On the whole, many consumers have adopted a ‘digital first’ mindset. In other words, if you don’t expect customers to show up with paper money, why limit your approach to paper letters?

Automated payment reminders can be sent via the communication channels your customers prefer, whether it’s WhatsApp, interactive video, QR code, email, SMS, voice etc. Communicating with your customers through the means they prefer is cost-efficient and highly effective.

Voice reminders are especially effective at freeing up staff so they have more time to focus on complex matters like helping customers with invoice queries and custom payment plans. Learn more about voice reminders by checking out our Effective Payment Collection whitepaper.

Moreover, by segmenting your customers you could use different communication channels for different customer groups. For example, you could send payment reminders via WhatsApp to a millennial audience and traditional mail to baby boomers. Clear messages sent through relevant communication channels increase conversions and reduce DSO.

3. Insightful

Automated payment reminder platforms like the one offered by Alphacomm Solutions offer valuable insights into customer behaviour. Use the business intelligence data to find out which methods yield the best results and adapt your strategy accordingly.

 

Your people are your most valuable asset. Make sure they are free to focus on valuable tasks that push the company forward by automating the payment collection process. Contact Alphacomm Solutions for more information on our Payment Reminders solutions.

Get in touch with our team for more information on our business solutions.

Alphacomm Solutions whitepaper: how automated payment reminder systems boost your credit management performance

Michael Martens
Head of Sales

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Cash is king but for how long? Alphacomm Solutions

Cash is king, but for how long?

The latest Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts report by RBR, released in February 2019, highlights the sharp rise in the acceptance and usage of payment cards. But are merchants ready for a cashless economy?

In 2017, approximately $25.1 trillion worth of purchases were made with payment cards compared to 2016. In this same period, e-commerce card expenditure reached $4.5 trillion; an increase of 13%. According to the study, card expenditure worldwide is expected to be valued at $45.2 trillion by 2023. E-commerce will make up a substantial part of this figure as it is predicted to hit $11 trillion.

Low value payments are becoming more frequent

One explanation for the rise in card expenditure is consumers are increasingly using their cards for low value payments. In recent years, mainstream adoption of cards as methods of payment has been buoyed by improvements in convenience.

One notable exception to the trend is China. Chinese consumers generally reserve cards for high value purchases. Nonetheless, the Asia-Pacific region, with its 28% share in payment volume, is still responsible for 50% of global card expenditure.

Access to cash in a cashless economy?

Consumer attitude is changing when it comes to commerce. In Europe, many businesses and festivals have started to eliminate cash as a payment option. Another development in the payment landscape is the passing of the Payment Services Directive (PSD2) by the European Parliament. The directive provides a much-needed regulatory framework within which European banks and fintech companies can coexist and allows for greater access to alternative banking options.

However, these changes and shifting attitudes have left some wanting. As younger generations do most of their banking online, brick and mortar bank branches have been disappearing across Europe. According to analysis in the UK by Consumers’ Association Which?,  ATMs are disappearing at breakneck pace, especially in rural areas. In 2018, approximately 200 British communities either had poor or no access at all to cash machines. As access to cash becomes a problem, card expenditure will undoubtedly continue to rise. But are merchants ready for the cashless economy?

Securing revenue in the online world

The more we spend online, the more we need to be aware of the pitfalls. As the value of card transactions drops and the frequency of use rises, merchants will increasingly see the need to take measures to protect their business by securing their revenue. Avoiding costly chargebacks and outsmarting fraudsters are among the top challenges for online merchants.

Furthermore, as e-commerce spreads to new markets and international consumer purchases become more prevalent, the need for tools like as SEPA e-mandates and digital payment reminders will only rise. How are you preparing for the cashless economy?

Get in touch with our team for more information on our business solutions.

Alphacomm Solutions whitepaper: how automated payment reminder systems boost your credit management performance

Andrew Collins
New Business Development Manager

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An explanation of the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2)

What does PSD2 mean?

PSD2 is the acronym for Payments Services Directive 2. It’s the follow-up to PSD1 which was adopted in 2007. It’s considered a maximum harmonisation directive. As such, after approval by the European Parliament, it takes effect in all countries within the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) albeit with minor differences.

PSD2, which was adopted in 2015, officially came into force in January 2018. In the Netherlands, implementation actually took a bit longer as the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) came into effect in February 2019.

What does the Payment Services Directive do?

The purpose of the Payments Services Directive is to improve the European payments industry by promoting healthy competition and increasing the participation of non-banks. It also provides protections by facilitating the harmonisation of rights and obligations of consumers and payment providers across the European Union.

What’s the difference between PSD1 and PSD2?

Compared to 2007 when SEPA was introduced, the landscape for banking and digital payments has changed quite a lot. It is essential that regulations keep up with the pace of technology and consumer trends. To that end, PSD2 takes things a step further by planning for the future.

Fintech companies are increasingly handling more banking duties on behalf of consumers. PSD2 makes sure that these third parties play by the rules and that consumers have the final say on how their banking data is managed.

Whereas PSD1 was introduced in order to harmonise financial regulation, PSD2 aims to foster innovation within the industry, empower consumers by giving them more control over their data and improve security for online payments.

What are the implications of PSD2 for the fintech industry?

As of the launch of PSD2, banks are now required to provide third parties with access consumer’s banking data once the consumer has given explicit approval. This change has the fintech industry buzzing with excitement. Fintech developers are now able to create apps that directly interface with the consumer’s banking data and pull information from various bank accounts.

In other words, somebody with bank accounts at three different banks could download a third party app, provide the necessary permissions and thus gain never before seen insights into his or her financial situation through a unified dashboard.

Another aspect of  PSD2 is that consumers can now also authorise payments via these third parties. Registered service providers can act as acquirers and deal directly with the banks on behalf of the consumer, completing transactions without the need of an intermediary.

Find out more on PSD2 at the following resource:
Payment services (PSD 2) – Directive (EU) 2015/2366

At Alphacomm Solutions, we’ve been working on getting the most out of PSD2 since day one. Our solutions are always up to date and implementation is always quick. Get in touch with our team for more information on our business solutions.

Alphacomm Solutions whitepaper: how automated payment reminder systems boost your credit management performance

Andrew Collins
New Business Development Manager


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