The Evolution of Product: Empowering the Customer

Jul 12, 2017, by Russell Wet

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FinTech Product


‘The customer is always right’ is a well known phrase, originally coined back in 1909 by Henry Gordon Selfridge, which demonstrates the attention businesses should show towards customer satisfaction. Many arguments are had amongst customer support staff on how useful this approach is, but the truth is, we’re far past it.

Product Evolution: Consult and Empower the Customer

You may not be surprised that 70 percent of companies which deliver outstanding customer experience rely on customer feedback. In fact, businesses are well aware that customers really control whether their product or service is a success. Woe-betide those who ignore the customer!

An example of this in action is ‘Co-creation’, a process where businesses consult their customers and use that feedback to create better ideas, products and services, which is designed to keep products not only relevant but ahead of the competition too. The business steers its innovation, following an agile development and release path; the customer is consulted regularly and has a place in the process.

This has been good product development practice for many years now. Certain leading organisations have entire departments and 3rd party suppliers dedicated to understanding customers, employees and partners, improving customer experience, customer retention and sales.

The digital revolution has taken this even further. Firms are now pushing customers towards their ‘communities’ as a tool for both product and support.

Starbucks, Apple and Sony all have active communities that create ideas and report bugs. Back Me Up insurance even offer cash rewards for constructive suggestions on their product. We have moved on from the customer ‘always being right’, past the customer being constantly consulted, to a point where the customer is very much part of the product team.

It is only now that this approach is reaching fintech, but the future looks very bright. In fact, the latest advances in technology are making this happen to the point where customer engagement and use of a product or service determines its course in real-time.

Product Evolution in Payments

At a recent Wired Money event where our CEO, Anna Tsyupko spoke in the start-up pitch competition, we heard Tom Bloomfield of Monzo talk eloquently of a world where your bank will know when you have tapped into a tube trip with your contactless payment card but forgot to tap-out and makes a claim for the charge for an incomplete journey.

At the same event we heard Joern Leogrand of Wirecard talk of how they can use Artificial Intelligence to predict shopping patterns to facilitate real-time loyalty and Shachar Bialick from Curve even explained how their customers will be able to select an alternative funding source for a payment after the transaction has taken place! That’s time travel!

As another great example, entrepreneur Lee Travers and his team are creating a new bank - iam bank - where the user experience is determined by the customers’ own actions, the limits they set to manage their finances and will even help them pay-off loans with cashback from every-day shopping. Yes, you saw that correctly, shopping to pay of debt.

And the list goes on, with new use cases surfacing daily. But there is one thing they all have in common: The way the customer interacts is going to determine how new products will behave and evolve – supported by technology that is getting more and more intelligent and responsive.

However despite such innovation, firms face legacy issues of being tied to dated payment processors and acquirers. Their payments infrastructure cannot match the flexibility of their services. This has been and remains to be a stumbling block for emerging fintech firms.

Logic as the Backbone of Product Evolution in Payments

At Paybase we are building a payments processing platform that provides the backbone our clients need to provide these new customer-driven product experiences in whatever way they want them delivered, be it mobile or web.

Our Event Engine and Logic Engine really support this approach to the product development lifecycle. Using our Event Engine, our Partners can achieve rich integration with their own systems with real-time data push via granular webhooks. This allows them to drive engagement in their own products, such as sending a push notification.

With our Logic Engine, our Partners can define business logic that runs before (or after) a transaction begins processing, allowing them to add fees, apply limits, or tag customers based on their behaviour. For example, this makes it incredibly simple for a marketplace to apply different fee tiers to their sellers based on sales volume, or for an app to enforce different velocity limits based on how risky a customer is.

Our clients are and will be these new, forward thinking businesses who want to join the new revolutionaries. They are the marketplace platforms, gig and sharing economy businesses and fintech apps of tomorrow.

We want your thoughts and feedback.

As Paybase starts to partner with services built around real-time customer input, we too want to evolve around the feedback of others. Please Get in touch with any questions or suggestions. If you’re a business that could benefit from a flexible payments solution, we want to hear from you!

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