The dollars and sense of customer management: Inside the world of payment solution providers

Discover the world of payment solution providers and understand the financial benefits they can bring to your business.

In an era marked by unprecedented technological advancements and a global shift towards digitalization, the world of payment solution providers stands at the forefront of innovation.

As consumers increasingly rely on cashless transactions and eCommerce, the role of payment solution providers has evolved, demanding them to adapt, communicate, and deliver at a pace never seen before.    

The global payment processing market size is projected to reach $140.3 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 13.3% during the forecast period, according to the payment processing industry report by Allied Market Research.

In this fast-paced landscape, understanding the ever-changing communication trends, addressing the unique challenges, and harnessing innovative solutions is paramount.

Inside the World of Payment Solution Providers

In late 2023, Infobip wanted to understand better how payment services companies handle critical customer service and sales communications. We conducted an online survey that asked more than 150 senior payments executives in the United States an array of questions about their client demographics, communication platforms, software and vendor budgets, and more.

We found that the results would be helpful to other businesses in the payments space and beyond. With a firm grasp of client communication and customer management, all businesses are in the best position to thrive.

The average respondent for this survey was a payment processing company handling $10 million to $100 million per year. However, a significant number facilitate over $1 billion in payments for clients in diverse industries. If you want to grow your business or improve operations, here’s a look at the key insights you can take from our payments industry survey.

Understanding the landscape: Client demographics and sectors served

The payments industry includes small, industry-focused startups and large enterprises supporting sales across many industries and channels. Here’s a glance at the typical payment processing company.

The scale of payment processing

Payment processing companies handle many swipes, taps, dips, and online card-based transactions. About a quarter of processors handle up to $10 million annually, while about half of payment companies manage $10 million to $1 billion in annual sales. About 5% handle over $1 billion in annual sales. Startups and boutique processors with under $10 million in yearly payment volume make up the rest.

You’re in good company if you’re a smaller business looking to grow. Learning from larger businesses can give you insights into customer service and sales operations for prominent industry veterans.

Diverse industries, diverse needs

Among the payment companies in our survey, we found the most common sectors supported include financial, insurance, and professional services companies. Professional services is an interesting market, including various small to large businesses.

We classified professional services as executive, scientific, and technical services providers, such as accountants, veterinarians, computer services, architects, lawyers, and many others. Information sector companies compose another large segment.

Interestingly, high-volume retail, food services, and accommodations companies were a significant but much smaller segment. Building relationships here could lead to lucrative long-term partnerships.

About one in ten payment companies consider their top supported industries to include manufacturing, waste management, wholesale, arts/entertainment/recreation, education, health services, real estate, transportation, and warehousing.

Large industrial companies, such as mining and agriculture, are among the smallest supported industries for card payments.

Winning new clients: methods that work

Understanding the best sales and communications channels is critical for whatever industries you’re targeting. There’s no need to leave this to guesswork, as the most preferred methods are clear.

75% of respondents indicated that direct sales is the most common method of attracting new clients. About two-thirds use online sales, 40% use email, and one-third use trade shows and events.

While they make up around 20% or less of sales methods, 20% is a significant portion of sales. These methods remain relevant despite lower adoption rates:

  • Partner sales (27%)
  • Affiliate marketing (23%)
  • Social media sales (22%)
  • Content marketing (21%)
  • Webinars and online events (21%)
  • Referral programs (18%)
  • SEO and PPC advertising (16%)
  • Cold calling (11%)

With limited resources, small to mid-sized businesses may want to skip the labor-intensive work of cold calling. But if you can scale and succeed with other methods, such as affiliate marketing and content marketing, they’re worth the investment.

Communication channels: meeting clients where they are

You may have a favorite social networking site, but if your clients are not there, using it for marketing could be akin to shouting into an empty room. Again, the results were clear regarding serving clients where they already spend time and meeting customer expectations.

Three communication channels dominate

Three communication channels dominate when it comes to sales and customer support. If you work in either of these functions, it won’t be a surprise.

Nearly 90% of companies use Email as a primary communication channel. Even if you don’t like email, your clients expect you’ll offer it for quick turnaround discussions. Don’t overlook the power of email.

Following email, about 60% of companies use text messaging (SMS) and old-fashioned voice calls as primary support methods. Again, regardless of your personal preferences, your clients likely want to communicate with you via email, phone, or SMS. If you don’t offer them, you’re behind the pack.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t support omnichannel sales and customer service communications. Other platforms utilized by payments companies include Google’s Business Messages, in-app messaging, WhatsApp Business Platform, Messenger, and Viber for Business. Up-and-coming RCS messaging, an upgrade to SMS recently pushed out by Google and Apple, is used by a minority of companies but is likely to grow.

The quest for quick responses

Slow customer service may be common in some consumer-facing businesses, but it’s unacceptable to most payments clients. If they’re unable to process sales, every second of downtime could be extremely costly.

65% of payment companies respond to client requests in 20 minutes or less. About 10% take an hour or longer. With these fast response times, 97% of executives believe clients are extremely satisfied or satisfied with customer service.

Investing in tools empowering your team to respond in 10 minutes or less will likely pay off. Slow responses can cost your clients and your company in the long run. If you’re not meeting expectations, you risk losing clients you worked hard to attract.

The investment behind client relations

Investing in high-performance communications tools isn’t optional in the payments industry. While the tools used vary, offering your teams a centralized communications platform, such as a unified customer data platform, empowers workers to meet or exceed customer expectations.

Annual budgets for communication tools

While budgets vary by company size, nearly 70% of payments companies commit at least $250,000 annually for communications. About 25% of companies spend between $50,000 and $250,000.

Considering that a single new client could more than recoup the entire annual cost of communications software, it’s not surprising that companies are heavily investing in these tools.

Proactive Measures for Client Satisfaction

Believing you’re doing an excellent job with client satisfaction without the data to support your beliefs is a dangerous way to run a business. Instead of operating blindly, savvy executives measure customer satisfaction using client feedback tools and reporting.

Nearly 90% of companies implement client feedback systems to ensure they know they’re hitting the mark. These systems rely heavily on channels such as Email, SMS, WhatsApp and RCS, as well as platforms to register, organize, orchestrate and dispatch such enquiries. Evaluating results and regularly implementing feedback and improvements can lead to best-in-class customer satisfaction and retention.

Communication is the foundation of successful payments companies

Large and small companies understand that meeting sales and support benchmarks is key to long-term success. Investing in an omnichannel communications platform that unite your team’s efforts and lead to winning outcomes can set your company apart.

With a stronger understanding of the competitive landscape and rising customer expectations, you can build a business that thrives for years to come.

Learn how our platform can help you exceed expectations for your new and existing clients

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Jan 26th, 2024
6 min read