Lessons from Apple Pay

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credit-card-1104960_1280Plastic cards fill our wallets. Credit cards, debit cards, loyalty cards, bank cards, membership cards, and ID cards add weight to the bulging wallet. The migration to the bar-coded key tags is an improvement but still an inconvenience. It is not surprising to find a wallet packed with more than ten cards and a key chain with several key tags. These have been introduced to allow the issuer to identify the users and track behaviours. For the users, the customers, they didn’t really have other alternatives.

With the introduction of mobile payment apps, consumers are presented with a more flexible payment option.  Consider Apple Pay, it allows the users to register one or more cards to be used for payment. The design of the solution is customer-centric. As a new user of Apple Pay, the end-to-end experience has been delightful and effortless.

  1. Straight-forward setup instructions

The app on the phone provides the step-by-step instructions. Using a combination of text and graphics, each step is laid out clearly. The concise instructions leave little room for confusion. The whole process takes less than five minutes.

  1. Simple to use

In making a payment, one simply holds the phone close to the card reader and places the finger on the Touch ID to authenticate the user for the purchase. There is no need to carry the credit card around or, find the right card and retrieve it from the wallet.

  1. No additional effort or cost

Once a card is registered, there is nothing else one needs to do. The purchases made using Apple Pay will be charged through the normal credit card payment processing. The user is able to track the transactions. There is no additional cost to the user for the convenience.

  1. A nagging problem eliminated

As more retailers integrate their payment and reward card platforms with Apple Pay, the number of cards consumers can remove from their wallet will go up. The problem with the bulging wallet will disappear.

Apple did all the work to align the backend systems and processes. It built a simple front-end app to make it easy for the users to sign up. It collaborated with the financial institutions and retailers to establish a seamless experience. Changes in the backend systems and processes are transparent to the users. The collaboration has been a success. From the user’s perspective, the adoption of the mobile payment option offers more benefits than the effort consumed.

For your business, is there any opportunity to enhance the customer touch points by varying the approach and processes? Here are several questions you need to ponder:

  • How would you make it easier for your customers to use your product or service?
  • How much data do you really need to gather from your customers?
  • Is there a more effective approach to gather data?
  • Who can you collaborate with to simplify your processes and systems?
  • What is the most straight-forward approach to deliver the benefits you promise?

What Apple has done with Apple Pay is establishing a platform where participants could leverage the same approach to complete transactions. The end goals are simplicity, speed, and convenience for the users. I am optimistic that different businesses, even government organizations, could collaborate to advance their service delivery in congruence for the benefit of the end users.

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