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Hot on the heels of the digital revolution

Corporate treasurers need to be fast followers or fast reactors to the digital revolution, bearing in mind that innovative technology is a key element in providing a seamless customer experience. But how can treasurers actually be relevant to customer experience? These were some of the ideas and questions discussed in a session at the BNP Paribas Cash Management University held in Paris last week.

Engaging with the auto revolution

Two corporate speakers explained how they have embraced e-payments in their respective sectors, the auto sector and the petrol/oil sector. Nicolas Desrousseaux, head of new mobility projects at Banque PSA Finance, first of all outlined how the auto industry is an a turning point – in fact it's looking at three simultaneous revolutions: the electric car, the autonomous car and the collective car. Added to that, the car-buying experience is also changing rapidly due to digital and online channels. Desrousseaux sees the e-payments project as a part of the new digital auto age and said it has been a way to share the company's enthusiasm and conviction: “We wanted people to be involved in the e-payment project as a way of engaging them with the auto revolution.”

While customers in the past would visit a showroom on average five times before buying, they now start their car purchasing process online and visit a showroom on average 1.2 times. In other words, they really only visit the showroom to buy a car they've already decided to buy through online research at home. So staff need to be trained differently and the purchase and payment are central to the company's in-person interaction with the client. Desrousseaux said: “Payment is at the heart of the customer experience – it's key because it not only enables you to sell cars, but also helps you sell additional services such as insurance contracts. Having a cross-functional e-payments solution is important so that we can deliver quickly.”

Control payment costs and customer experience

Francois Mezzina, responsible for electronic funds transfer at Total Marketing & Services, said he advised taking a measured approach to digital transformation in payments, as companies still need to cater for older customers that aren't online all the time. That said, the convergence of e-payments and face-to-face payments is inevitable. Mezzina said: “If we want to make a sustainable investment, the payment has to cover the digital and the in-person channel.” He also noted the importance of companies or retailers being able to understand, control and adapt their e-payments solutions: “As a retailer, we decided we couldn't afford to invest further in payment systems that were 'black box' – where the processor provides the payment terminals and we pay the fees. Now as a retailer, we have the ability to drive all these costs.”

Mezzina's final advice to a company on an e-payments journey is that it's not only an investment to change and replace your e-payment devices: “Changing your e-payments is a good opportunity to improve and offer your customers a new shopping experience.”

This item appears in the following sections:
Payments - Bill Collection
Billing Systems & e-Invoicing
Collecting International Bill Payments
Regular Bill Payments from Consumers
Payments - Collecting at POS
Card Payments at POS
Collecting Payments on the Internet
Collecting Payments via Mobile
Payments - Making
Paying Suppliers

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