Reducing payment friction encourages customer loyalty

As the world regains a sense of normality, the restaurant and catering sector still needs to mitigate safety risks and introduce new ways to deliver a premium customer experience that’s safe and seamless.  

Robert Tedesco, Vice President and General Manager of Global Merchant Services, American Express, says that operators should focus on things within their control, particularly in times of disruption. 

For some, this means investing in new safety technology or customer service training. While for others, it might mean updating menus to reflect changing customer tastes. While these things are significant, it’s essential not to overlook the ordering and checkout experience.  

Creating frictionless payment experiences provides customers with ease and confidence to use whatever payment method they want without fear of penalty or rejection.

Businesses that offer a frictionless payment experience have a more substantial chance of improving customer satisfaction and loyalty when considering that two in three Australians (68%) use less cash in favour of contactless and mobile payments.  

“Our research proves this: customers are more likely to abandon a cart if their preferred method of payment isn’t accepted at point of sale,” says Robert. 

For the past 21-years, American Express has worked with the Restaurant & Catering Association (R&CA) to assist members in the importance of payment choice and inform them how payment barriers could result in missed business opportunities.

Accepting all forms of payment not only increases the chances of a repeat customer – but it streamlines strategic business operations and enhances customer spending and loyalty.

American Express card members, for instance, have an average transaction size that is 1.6 times that of other credit cards. With an American Express card, members can earn points, access offers and rewards in return for their spending. There are also incentives for them to seek out businesses that accept their preferred choice of card.

For all these reasons, restaurant and catering providers should indicate which payment options are available on their website and at the venue. Robert confirmed that American Express card members are often delighted when signage is clear from the outset, and the accepting merchants also notice the difference.

Last year, American Express ran a campaign to encourage accepting businesses to display Amex logos and imagery. Participating venues saw a 24% uplift in the number of new Amex card members coming into their store and a 17% uplift in the number of Amex transactions.  

The cost of card payments has also reduced over time. Thanks to several American Express partnerships, including with Square and CBA, the cost of accepting American Express is no different from other credit cards.

Wes Lambert, CEO of R&CA reiterates how crucial it is that businesses do not unintentionally spoil the closing moments by limiting their customers’ payment options. “For many hospitality businesses the goal is to deliver a great experience for the customer – now more than ever. But if businesses are not letting customers pay the way they prefer, then it creates friction,” says Wes. “It is why the Restaurant & Catering Association believes that operators need to offer several payment options and remove any payment obstacles to future-proof our sector,” he says. 

American Express continues to work with the R&CA to encourage booking and spending in the accommodation sector. For example, Shop Small has transitioned into a year-round movement, incentivising customers to spend where it is needed most. Traditionally held in the lead up to Christmas, this year’s shift to an always-on initiative aims to assist small businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Commenting on Shop Small, Wes says: “This year’s campaign really focuses on reminding Aussies of the joy of dining, while also supporting restaurants, cafes, and caterers when they need it most.”

Learn more about Shop Small here.