Recently I had the distinct pleasure of helping out by working with the local food bank to prepare boxes of non-perishables for local families in need. You know, those folks unable to hoard toilet paper and pasta. It was safe; the fire department provided gowns, masks, and everything else we needed. While there, I had a chance to chat with Hank, not his real name, but Hank is a ranking leader officer of the department. I should add that we live in a rural area that is dense with agriculture, and Hank has seen it all.
Rural firefighters and first responders are well versed in pathogens and chemicals, zoonotic diseases (those that can transfer from animal to human) are well known to them. Hank’s crew has the gear and know the protocols. So his advice was particularly on-point:
- The cash you get from a cash register probably has the virus
- Don’t handle your mail without protective gloves
- Don’t touch anything others have touched without protective gloves
- When using hand sanitizer, thoroughly soak your hands, then repeat
Hank’s advice is sound. Dr. Sanjay Maggirwar, (chair of the George Washington University School of Medicine’s department of microbiology, immunology and tropical medicine) has said, “These viruses can stay on surfaces in their fully active states for at least ten days.” And adds, “That includes cash and all kinds of other surfaces that people normally touch.” A post-coronavirus world will be a very different world for business.
Social Distance CX
Businesses will need to consider a new customer experience strategy that applies the concept of social distancing to a wide range of customer engagements. Companies that understand and embrace this idea will be winners in a post-coronavirus business landscape.
Think about the simple act of paying for what we need at the grocery and drug stores. In the current environment, we’d rather not touch cash unless we’re “gloved-up.” So it makes sense to use our credit and debit cards. But for the vast majority in the United States, that means swiping and inserting where dozens or even hundreds of others have done the same. And then, touching a pen or touch-screen to complete the payment. Contactless payments are a necessity.
US consumers and retailers have been slow to adopt contactless credit cards, unlike the U.K., Canada, and Australia. Outside of the US, Visa reports than nearly half of all payments are through contactless cards. New York City, a coronavirus hot-spot, began adopting contactless payments at some subway in Manhattan and Brooklyn. You can read more at creditcards.com, where you can also find a list of credit card companies that offer contactless cards.
Secure Payments By Phone
Today we received our water bill in the mail. As suggested by Hank, I retrieved our mail while wearing disposable gloves and discarded all but the water bill. Then I thought, “Should I even open this?” So I found our last statement, called the number and made my payment over the phone. Contactless payment of a physical utility bill.
My water bill payment process was, thankfully, through a secure method, but I still needed to verify my identity with a customer service rep. With the right solution, like our Compass Payments Suite, this could easily be a “Call-And-Go” process that’s fast and painless. The system would recognize the caller, check their account, and ask if they’re calling to make a payment before any other IVR menu options. And if the caller’s card data has securely stored, all the IVR needs to ask is, “Would you like to make your payment with the payment method we have on file?” A simple yes, and it’s genuinely Call-And-Go.
Customer Experience is Everything; Everything is Customer Experience
At some point, we’ll all emerge bleary-eyed and pale from our isolated existence and get on with our lives and business. Consumers will have new and challenging expectations. Rise to meet those challenges now, before someone else does.