Mike Elliff, CEO at Tyl by NatWest talks to SME Today about what the payments industry can do better to help SME’s in the new year
What can the payments industry do better in 2022?
“For 2022 it is increasingly important for the payments industry to view every move through its impact on the relationship between the business owner and the end customer, focusing on our customers’ customers. Not just the payment provider and the business customer. The rise of Open Banking and services such as Buy Now Pay later are an excellent example of this. For 2022 we expect to see businesses making decisions based on what their customers are asking of them to a greater degree than we have seen before. That is tied into the pandemic and its impact on the rise of digital payments in general.
“Choice is a great thing for customers but too much choice can also make things cluttered, especially when it comes to payment methods. For 2022 we expect to see a continued proliferation of payment method choices but the challenge for SMEs will be how to strike a balance between choice and simplicity.”
What will SMEs demand of a payment system in 2022?
“The key question SMEs will ask themselves throughout 2022 is; “Does my payment provider make my life easier?”. Every feature, customer interaction and touchpoint must be designed with ease of use in mind. To that end, transparent pricing, flawless service, connectivity, speed of processing and the delivery of valuable insights that are easy to act on are key for SME owners in 2022.
“Interestingly, we’re also seeing SMEs place greater importance on aesthetics. While physical appearance should never mean compromising on quality or value for money, many merchants – particularly those in the events, beauty, retail and hospitality industry – are increasingly turning to payment providers who offer a device with a modern, fresh look that compliments the wider vision they have for their brand.”
How can the payment industry support SMEs in 2022?
“The payment industry can play a vital role in helping SMEs unlock data and improve decision making. As an industry, we’re sitting on so much information that can help SMEs understand what’s working for them and how their customers behave. This has been talked about for a while now but there is still so much to be done to fully unlock the size of the opportunity in practice. Ease of use should be the guiding star, providing clear insights in a few clicks. From a Tyl perspective, our breadth of customer base means that we have the potential to deliver phenomenally valuable insight across a wide range of sectors. Taking inspiration from outside the industry such as the iPhone health app, if you are able to bring useful, readily packaged insights to SME owners through unprompted notifications, taking all the responsibility off the busy SME owner, you will drive behaviour shifts with customers craving the knowledge they have never had before, provided by your system, without them having to think.”
What are SMEs most concerned about next year?
“While lockdowns remain a key concern among SMEs, business owners have developed incredible resilience over the last two years and are hopefully feeling more optimistic than they were heading into 2022. However, consumer habits have changed significantly since pre-Covid and customer expectations have seen a marked increase. A key concern for SMEs therefore is how they can make every interaction with customers flawless. It’s not just about the product and service you’re selling if you want to secure long term loyalty. The payment process is a key component of the quality of the overarching shopping experience, helping SMEs bring their customers back time after time at a point where businesses need that more than ever.”