Small Customer Gestures Can Have A Big Business Impact

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Small Customer Gestures Can Have A Big Business Impact

Humans are highly social creatures, and our relationships are vitally important. Not just in our personal lives, but in business as well.

While most companies remain hyper-focused on sales and revenue targets, the most successful ones have centered their business around the building and maintaining authentic customer relationships. Like all relationships, it requires ongoing commitment, investment, and effort. And, as many are learning, sometimes the smallest gestures have the most significant impact.

Think about the things you do for the people you love.

You recognize and celebrate their birthdays and anniversaries. You check in periodically to see how they’re doing. You express how much you enjoy and appreciate them. You carve out time and make an effort to get together. Maybe you send unexpected notes or surprise them on occasion with a small gift.

These are little things, not grand gestures. But they go a long way in showing you care. In doing so, they help strengthen the foundations of the relationship and the fulfillment both parties receive from it.

And yet, we rarely do these things in business. Instead of small acts of thoughtfulness and appreciation, we send invoices, surveys, and contract renewals. We ask for likes and shares, and endorsements. And we show how much we care about the *next* transaction, not the person, people, or relationships that make it possible.

In 1992, author Gary Chapman popularized the “Five Love Languages” for expressing heartfelt commitment to a mate. They include:

  1. Acts of service
  2. Gift giving
  3. Physical touch
  4. Quality time
  5. Words of affirmation

With the notable exception of physical touch (professional and romantic relationships aren’t completely synonymous, of course), I believe all of these “love languages” can be applied within a business context. Not in a formulaic or programmatic way. Just a little, semi-spontaneous gestures that show you’re paying attention and that you care.

Maybe that means reaching out on your customer’s birthday or when they receive a promotion. Not via LinkedIn, because everyone does that, but with a phone call or handwritten note that will be far more memorable.

Maybe it’s a Home Depot gift card when your customer moves to a new city. Or a gift certificate for an ice cream celebration after their child’s team wins a big sporting event.

I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan, and someone sent me a Cameo with a personalized message from Troy Aikman a while back. It was a small thing, but it made my day, gave me something fun to show my friends and family, and I’ll never forget it.

When delivered unexpectedly and with the right message of appreciation, even company schwag can delight customers and provide a lasting reminder of your brand.

The fitting gesture depends on the individuals involved and the depth of their relationship, of course. But all employees – not just sales and marketing staff – should be encouraged to build better relationships with customers. And they should be empowered to do the little things at the moment of truth, whether it’s a special occasion or unique circumstance or an opportunity to help.

But not for every customer, and not all the time.

These gestures must be special and unexpected. They must be sincere and unselfish without expecting something in return. If an act of kindness or appreciation is a thinly veiled nudge toward a contract renewal, the customer will see right through it.

Although it’s difficult to measure, these gestures can dramatically impact your business when executed correctly. In reinforcing the foundations and fulfillment of the relationship you have with your customers, they foster goodwill, word-of-mouth promotion, additional followers and positive reviews, and repeat business.

After all, it’s the littlest things that often have the biggest impact.

Since the demonetization of old currency notes, the Government of India has been making a big push for digital payments. To encourage cashless transactions and promote the Digital India initiative, the Government of India has launched Unified Payments Interface (UPI) for smartphones. In addition, for primary and feature phones, it has introduced Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD). The Government has also introduced the BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) app, a unified UPI app. Another introduction by the Government is the Aadhaar Pay that enables people to make cashless money transactions using Aadhaar Card and their fingerprint for biometric authentication. In addition, to make the payment process easier, the Government of India has now launched the Bharat QR Code payments transfer mechanism for cashless electronics payments.

Over the past few years, many people have moved to cashless payment methods using debit and credit cards. However, this cashless electronic payment transaction method has strings attached in terms of the cost of owning and running the card swipe machines and transaction fees. Therefore, the Government of India has taken another step to encourage digital payments and has simplified things for merchants and customers by launching the Bharat QR Code.

Bharat QR Code will use the QR codes system for payments across merchant outlets. QR code or Quick Response code is a two-dimensional machine-readable code of black and white squares. It is used to store URLs and other information. The camera of a smartphone can read these.

According to RBI, the Bharat QR Code is the world’s first inter-operable payment acceptance solution. Bharat QR code aims at standardizing the QR code payment method through the country. Payment networks such as MasterCard, American Express, and Visa have collaborated with the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) to launch and promote the Bharat QR payment method. However, different merchant outlets across the country use different QR codes.

The Bharat QR is a more streamlined system that will reduce technological problems, and people will not suffer from card loss or card expiry problems. It is the easiest method of payment for users. Scanning the QR code through your mobile will help transfer money from one source to another. Payments made through QR codes will directly get transferred to the bank accounts, unlike another digital wallet that receives payments from e-mails. Even though various banks and private companies already have this facility in their mobile app, the QR code is different from others because it is interoperable with all the banks. It is not a closed-loop system. This Bharat QR code is expected to be convenient for those who are into mobile banking and who don’t want to use debit or credit cards for small payments. The physical Point-of-Sale (PoS) machines involve capital costs, and therefore Bharat QR code is seen as a better alternative.

Current QR Code-based payments

Most merchants across India accept QR code-based payments, but they are largely closed systems. Visa is a developer of QR Code payments and has already launched mVisa in India about a year-and-a-half ago. MVisa is a widely accepted payment option across the globe. About a year ago, DTH operator TataSky had partnered with Visa to accept QR code-based payments from its subscribers. Since demonetization, e-wallet apps such as Paytm, Freecharge, and Mobikwik have seen a surge in usage.

While these wallet apps allow QR code-based payments, both parties also need the app. For instance, if you are transferring money using Paytm, the receiver needs to have the Paytm app installed and an account in their smartphone.

How To Generate Bharat QR Code

If you are a retailer or shopkeeper, you can easily generate a Bharat QR code and start accepting payments using the following steps:

  1. First, make sure that you have a bank account.
  2. Then, link your bank account with BHIM App.
  3. Then, generate your unique Bharat QR Code from BHIM App.
  4. Finally, print the QR code and stick it to the wall of the payment counter.
  5. That’s it. Customers can easily pay money by scanning their QR codes.

How to make payment using Bharat QR Code

Currently, Bharat QR is integrated into ICICI Bank’s Pockets app and HDFC Bank’s PayZapp, with more banks expected to update their apps with support for the same. You will need your bank app or BHIM app installed on your phone for making payments. Then, at the merchant’s store, you have to open the app and tap on Scan QR Code or Scan & Pay (the options may differ from bank to bank) and scan the Bharat QR Code.

Once the code is scanned, the amount that must be paid needs to be entered along with a remark and a four-digit passcode. The money will be transferred to the merchant’s bank account as soon as the authentication is completed.

Benefits of Bharat QR Code

Bharat QR Code will allow all the merchants to receive digital payments without using Point-of-Sale (POS) swiping machine. It will enable the customers of any bank to use their smartphone app to make payments using their debit card. The benefit for the merchants would be that they don’t have to invest in buying the PoS machine, which would also mean that the merchants will be able to do away with the transaction fees charged by the banks for using the PoS terminal.

All that they have to do is, they will have to generate the Bharat QR Code and take a printout of it and stick it at their payment desk. The payment will occur via IMPS (Immediate Payment Services), and the money will instantly be credited into their bank account. Also that the merchants will not face problems about limits on the amount of money they can accept every month through Bharat QR Code, unlike Paytm, Freecharge, and Mobikwik. The hassle of transferring money from wallet to bank account will be eliminated, making it easier to accept digital money.

The Bharat QR Code also comes with security benefits. At present, when we swipe our debit or credit card, there are negligible possibilities that someone can capture our crucial details such as card number, expiry date, or CVV. While the OTP option is permitted for two-step verification before the transaction gets authenticated, the risk of exposing the card details remains. In the case of the Bharat QR Code, the transaction is completed with boosted security, and the card details remain under the control of the customer, which is a great advantage.

8 Facts about Bharat QR Code

Following are a few interesting facts about the Bharat QR Code payment system, which every debit or credit card holder should know.

1) Open Payment Interface

There are quite many QR-code-based payment interfaces available right now. The most prominent one is Visa’s mVisa and MasterPass QR code by Mastercard. But there is an issue with these QR code-based payment gateways, which is their closed system. For example, it implies that mVisa will only work with Visa cardholders, and MasterPass will only work with MasterCard holders. But with Bharat QR Code, all users can smoothly make and accept payments.

2) Integration Of UPI

Bharat QR Code also supports UPI-based payments. Therefore, the BHIM app can be used effectively for making payments. Moreover, it would be interoperable with various accounts since the BHIM app can include bank account details of multiple banks.

3) Banks offering Bharat QR Code

Fourteen banks are a part of the Bharat QR Code platform. The 14 banks are State Bank of India, Yes Bank, Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Citi Union Bank, HDFC Bank, IDBI Bank, ICICI Bank, Union Bank of India, RBL Bank, Development Credit Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, and Vijaya Bank. Soon, more banks are expected to join the forum.

4) Process of making payment using Bharat QR Code

The static form of making the payment is as given. Say you are a customer of HDFC Bank, whose official payment app is PayZapp. You will have to open PayZapp and scan the Bharat QR Code from within the app, and you will have to enter the amount to be paid. Then you will receive an authorization request from the bank. Once your identity is verified, you will receive a PIN from the bank, which needs to be entered to complete the process of payment. Hence, the bank’s official app you have an account with has to be installed using Bharat QR Code-based payments.

5) Dynamism in making Payments

Dynamic Payment mode is another form of payment. Under this method, the merchant will generate a new QR Code every time for every new transaction. The customer, here, will not have to feed in the amount but will have to scan the QR Code and enter the authorization code for the completion of the process of payment.

6) Lower transaction cost of Bharat QR

The requirement of PoS machines for swiping cards has gone away with the introduction of the Bharat QR Code. This makes it cheaper, more secure, and less time-consuming. Moreover, the total costs involved go down for both the customer and the merchant as no transaction cost is interested in going cashless via Bharat QR Code.

7) Massive Teamwork

For the first time, all major payment gateways operating in India, such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and NPCI, have developed a common payment processing platform. Therefore it will not matter whether you are paying via a Visa-enabled debit card or the merchant accepts via a Mastercard allowed bank account. The QR code shall be the standard gateway for receiving and making payments from any bank and by using any payment gateway.

8) Secure Payment

Payment with the Bharat QR code is more secure because the customer is not sharing any details with the merchant. However, there is a risk with PoS terminals as card details can be copied using skimming technology. This risk is eliminated in the case of Bharat QR, as all you need to do is scan and pay.

Final Thoughts

Bharat QR Code is one of the biggest achievements of the Government of India in promoting and encouraging cashless payments in the economy. However, the further success of this scheme will also depend upon the awareness among the people about the usage of the Bharat QR Code.

It will be essential to see how wallet companies like PayTM deal with this. If Bharat QR offers lower transaction rates to merchants, life will be difficult for POS machine providers and wallet companies.

Small Customer Gestures Can Have A Big Business Impact