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2017

Every month, Vantiv and PYMNTS.com team up to deliver the latest news in developer spaces. Here’s the overview of the Developer Tracker published in March 2017.

 

Mobile technology has impacted how people travel in just about every way. From real-time airfare comparisons to mobile boarding passes, and cross-border mobile payments to instant language translation, there’s virtually no part of the travel experience that’s been left untouched. As technological advancements continue making travel more convenient for consumers, software developers are looking for new ways to make traveling as convenient, efficient and secure as possible.

 

March’s Developer Tracker features an interview with Celia Pereiro, the head of payments for travel software solution provider Amadeus. In February 2016, Amadeus launched a B2B wallet that processes digital payments faster between different travel companies, or entities such as an airline and a travel agent or a booking service. The wallet was developed as part of a collaboration between Amadeus, MasterCard, and Ixaris. In addition to the wallet, Amadeus is preparing to debut a new payments service that would make paying for incidental airport services, such as baggage fees and skycap services, easier and more efficient.

 

The growing acceptance of mobile payments in travel industry has, in a way, steered it away from cash. That’s because mobile wallets support a wide range of digital payment options, letting travelers save much-needed physical currency for when they’re on the ground at their destinations. Pereiro sees the shift toward mobile payments to continue gaining momentum and with that, a continual decline in cash usage. “We are working with airlines on on-board payment systems,” she says. “Mobile payments are a big part of that business model.”

 

On the other hand, giving consumers too many payment options can cause confusion and friction. As a result, Periero says, the Amadeus team is working to personalize payment apps for individual travelers. This can empower them to quickly find their preferred digital payment option depending on the type of purchase.

 

Personalization has become increasingly important to Amadeus and other development companies in a wide range of industries, as consumers expect solutions to be catered to their needs and circumstances. “Personalization in payments is becoming a hot topic in travel as more and more people book on mobile devices,” Periero explains. “With that smaller screen-size it is not feasible to offer a long list of possible payment options – people just want to see the best payment option for them for that given payment. And their preferred payment option will change depending on whether they are booking a business trip, [thousands] for their honeymoon or spending $20 on extra baggage at the airport.”

 

While security is a concern to consumers when making any purchase, they are especially concerned about it when traveling, Periero notes. Due to physical security concerns, customers must disclose sensitive personal information when making airline and other travel reservations. While these measures may help keep bad actors from boarding planes, they can also potentially expose customer data to hackers and other cybercriminals.

 

Therefore, Periero says, it’s important that Amadeus and other travel solutions keep sensitive customer information safe. “Data security is one of our highest priorities and drives communications management at every level,” she says. “We work with travel companies to help them extract the sensitive credit card data from their systems and convert it into tokens so that they do not need to hold vulnerable data in their systems.”

 

Data and cybersecurity are also a concern when it comes to a company’s bottom line, Periero notes. By reducing the risk of cyberattacks, companies can inspire consumer confidence. Doing so can be good for customer satisfaction while also helping companies avoid lost revenue due to security breaches, fraud, chargebacks or fines for not complying with security standards. Security concerns will only become more prevalent as consumers increasingly turn to modern electronic payment methods, Periero points out. As consumers travel into a brave new personalized future, the pressure is on software developers to keep pace, offering the personalization and security that modern, digital payments – and their consumers – demand.

 

Read the full interview in March’s edition of PYMNTS.com’s Developer TrackerTM, powered by Vantiv. It also covers other developer-focused news and updates including:

 

  • Urban Airship debuts single-tap loyalty rewards

Urban Airship, the mobile engagement provider, recently unveiled a service that allows loyalty cards to be updated through a single tap with Apple Pay. The company describes the solution as the first of its kind for mobile wallets, which replaces the old method of using loyalty and rewards programs on smartphones. Users can now use Urban Airship to pay and earn loyalty and rewards points all via one app. The company will also be supporting other value-added services through Apple Pay.

  • Warehouse Mobile Solutions unveils inventory management app

Need to keep track of warehouse inventory? There’s an app for that. Warehouse Mobile Solutions recently released WarehouseOS, a new mobile solution for tracking and monitoring inventory. The app is designed to help make fulfillment and delivery as seamless as possible. It offers a simple interface that allows users to quickly view, track and report inventory data. It also claims to have cut the time required to fulfill orders in half. The app is aimed at helping businesses transition to delivering products directly to consumers via online orders.

 

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If you can master the communication technique Set Them Up For Future Reference — I convert it to the fun acronym STUFFR — you will be sure to meet and exceed your customers’ and co-workers’ expectations. STUFFR consists of identifying and understanding a potential problem and discussing it with the person in advance. You also need to note their (and your own) exact words and commitment to not failing.

 

The number one benefit of Set Them Up For Future Reference is accountability. Most people want to make their word good after they make a commitment to do so. People feel obligated to live up to their word. If a customer or co-worker doesn’t live up to their word, you can play back the words they committed to during your prior conversation. Arguing with your own words is tough to do. People usually acknowledge, apologize, and then adapt their behavior.

 

Here’s the four-step process for STUFFR:

  1. Obviate. This means to anticipate and prevent. A simple form of obviating is looking out your window, noting the gray skies, and grabbing an umbrella in case of rain. You don’t have to see raindrops to anticipate that you might get drenched later. Obviating requires skepticism. You need to look at your company’s situation, your situation, and the customer’s situation, then discuss what could go wrong and what the two of you can do to prevent it.
  2. Set clear expectations. Don’t just say to a customer, “We need your request ASAP — we get jammed up around the holidays.” Say more specifically, “If you want your new system installed by the end of this year, I would need to place your order for hardware and all the peripherals by December 9th. That way, even if there’s a one- or two-day delay in shipping, we will still have time for configuring our software and the system before our installers take their end-of-year vacations December 23rd through January 1st.”
  3. Recap the conversation to ensure that you both agree. You could recap the previous conversation by saying, “So you’re OK making a decision by December 9th or waiting until after the New Year to have your new system installed? If we don’t place the hardware order before the 9th, I can’t guarantee installation that month.”
  4. Write it down! Don’t rely on your memory to capture details of your discussion. Make notes during the conversation (and enter them into your CRM system when appropriate). Again using the previous example, the customer could email you their order on December 20th and expect an installation date of December 30th. When you call them back, the customer could say, “But for new systems at our other locations you’ve always been able to install them in 10 days or less.” If you don’t have clear notes, you could start doubting yourself: “I swear we had that conversation three weeks ago – did I forget to tell them about the installers taking time off for the holidays?” If you properly STUFFR and made good notes, all you need to do is open up your CRM and share with the customer details of that conversation. Memory jogged and management crisis averted.

 

STUFFR is a two-way street. The customer or co-worker knows what steps they need to take to get the outcome they desire, and you have committed to them the actions you are going to take as well. Using the above example, you have promised if the customer places their order on December 8th, their new system is guaranteed to be up-and-running by the end of the year. Just like you can play back someone else’s words … they can play back yours.

 

Avoid the word “try” when setting someone (or yourself) up for future reference. It’s unclear and it also softens any commitment. “I will try to email that link to you today” is far different from “I will email that link to you by the end of business today.” In the words of Yoda from Star Wars: “Do or do not. There is no try.”

 

So now that I’ve convinced you to like a new business acronym, let me try to warm you up to an often despised task: homework.

 

This is an exercise I use during my professional development sessions with Vantiv partners through our PaymentsEdge Advisory Services division. I ask reseller or developer staff members to map out an upcoming customer or co-worker interaction using the four-step Set Them Up For Future Reference framework.

 

  1. Obviate: What could go wrong and how you can prevent it.
  2. Set clear expectations (remember to be clear and specific).
  3. Recap the conversation: What will you say to them to conclude the conversation?
  4. Write it down: What specific notes will you keep on file?

 

This homework assignment has several upsides: it’s due whenever you like, it won’t be graded and, best of all, it will positively impact your business.

 

 

For more On the Edge content, please visit the Vantiv Partner Advantage website.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.

On a never-ending endeavor to be your preferred payments partner, Vantiv reached two milestones in March—our 5th year as a public company and becoming the leading merchant acquirer in the U.S., processing more payment transactions than anyone. Whether for you, with you or through you, it’s a journey of everyday spend that we’re on with you, every day. 

 

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