Voice of the Industry

UX in B2B payments and the pursuit of happiness

Tuesday 25 August 2020 08:47 CET | Editor: Vlad Macovei | Voice of the industry

Stefan Backlund, CMO of Payer, provides an overview over the importance of UX in the B2B payments industry and how companies can benefit from placing customer needs first

You might recognise the term ‘persona’. A persona is a fictional character that is being used in marketing or product development to put a unified face on your user. Let’s say that ‘Lisa’ is the name we give our B2B users. Our task is to serve Lisa in the best way possible. Lisa is the persona we are designing for.

What we have discovered at Payer is that ‘Lisa the consumer’ has been treated much better than ‘Lisa the IT manager’ for a very long time. Lisa is the same person, but she’s got a private side and a professional side. 

Lisa the consumer is used to very slick user interfaces in the apps and websites she is using. If she buys something, she will make a real-time payment and will receive the goods within an hour in an urban area. She is quite pleased with her digital life. 

Lisa the IT manager hates her life to put it mildly. She can’t make any purchases from her vendors without having to fill out internal purchase requisitions and form after form to complete a purchase. And after the purchase, she is concerned that invoices aren’t paid in time by her finance department.

Lisa is the same physical person. One of her personas is getting a gold treatment and the other one is more or less abused. Weird huh? In this article we will scratch on the surface on the broad and important area of UX for B2B.

The user journey starts in the back

At Payer, we tell our B2B clients that ‘if you spend less time on manual work, you can spend more time on your most important asset - your customer.’ When the product team at Payer run workshops with our clients, we take a holistic approach to the broad term ‘user experience’. 

We do not only talk about how we can make Lisa a happier customer by delivering great front-end experiences, but how we can help ‘George the Finance guy’ and ‘Wendy the ecommerce Director’ on the merchant side to become much more efficient in their back-end roles. The result is a focus on the things that create value. Everything such as slow, syrup-like, and manual processes can and should be automated. At Payer we solve huge process issues related to payments by using tech.

People, processes, and technologies

Before starting with an enterprise client, we look at the system architecture and at all back-end integrations to find out where a manual process can be eliminated in favour of a computerised one. Often the process is done together with a partner that specialises in management consultancy. The digital transformation journey is always about a mix of people, processes, and technology.

We have found that in B2B there are three clear areas that, if automated, will immediately deliver great user experiences to both stakeholders and shift towards a smooth B2C experience.

  • To be able to buy using an invoice

Lisa’s need: To be able to buy in real-time at merchant X (= name of one of her suppliers).

Process problem: A) For Lisa, cards are not widely distributed in her purchasing organisation. B) For the merchant (X), credit sales are guided by policies that involve manual decisions - either a credit committee, or a senior manager.

Solution: Algorithmic credit policy and credit scoring to deliver automated credit decisions at the point of purchase.

  • Automation of the dunning process chain

Lisa’s need: Less 1-1 communication related to her purchases.

Problem: Customer (LISA) and merchant (X) are facing high friction/low value conversations about shipment and delayed payments. 

Solution: Straight forward and automated dunning chain process with intuitive communication by email/SMS.

  • Reconciliation and reporting
Problem: This is a good one. One global company that we came across had 100 people on payroll to manually check bank statements against accounts receivables ledger. The common cause is that multi-market organisations run a mix of ERP systems that don't communicate at all. 

Solution: The solution is to harmonise purchase data in a central warehouse and distribute in formats needed to be understood in each ERP system. 

Result: This is the holy grail of digitisation, to be able to cut costs by eliminating unnecessary manual labour.

The pursuit of customer happiness

Let’s go back to the importance of great user experience in modern B2B ecommerce. It’s important to remember that Lisa’s professional expectations on digital experiences mirrors her personal life. Anything less will likely result in quite poor NPS scores from her. 

What we have found is that successful B2B ecommerce merchants have a strong pursuit of customer happiness and the answer lies in between the front-end and back-end.

I believe that those companies which are busy developing B2B payment experiences on-par with consumer facing interfaces are the ones that will win big in the future. In fact, this is such a crucial topic that we will see a shake-out of the companies that don’t.

About Stefan Backlund

Stefan is a marketeer, venture partner, and investor. He recently held the position of Vice President of Marketing & Communications at Trustly, the Pan-European payments company. Stefan started his career in the fintech industry at Swedish payment unicorn Klarna, where he was heading up B2C marketing, also on a European level. At Payer, Stefan is CMO which means that he is an asset for partner companies to discuss marketing, communication, PR, and commercial related topics with.

About Payer

Payer is a digital B2B payments company that serves local and global ecommerce companies to get paid from their customers. Payer facilitates card, B2B invoice, and bank payments in the EU, US, and beyond. Payer's mission is to create magical and safe payment experiences for B2B ecommerce through a robust API based payment platform. Our most successful merchants combine conversion, payment, and administration modules to create an end-to-end buying experience. 

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Keywords: payer, B2B payments, digital payments, ecommerce, cards, B2B invoice, bank payments, EU, US, payment experiences, B2B ecommerce, API, payment platform, conversion, payments , Administration, UX, buying experience
Categories: Banking & Fintech
Countries: World
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Banking & Fintech

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