Diversity the key to smoother payment processes

Elavon Global Airlines puts human relationships at the forefront of its payment channels and so diversity is very important for the customer experience.

New payment channels are often seen as a technological challenge. Simply implement the right hardware and software and add the payment option to the checkout screen.

But payment is so much more than that, according to Yang Li, Elavon’s Vice President, Global Airlines. “What really matters is the people factor,” she says. “Every relationship, both with businesses and the end customer, relies on this. You need humans to understand what to implement, how, and the effect on the customer experience. And that’s why diversity is so important.”

The Elavon team

The Elavon Global Airline team serves airlines from around the world. “Since we work with many different cultures, being able to communicate in their language, and in ways that are culturally sensitive and familiar creates both comfort and trust in Elavon,” Li continues. “Our job is to help our customers understand payments. By understanding how their business works, we are more effective partners.”

Payment is about continuing to deliver value to the customer. Diversity is key”

Yang Li, VP, Global Airlines, Elavon

Understanding and supporting varied cultures extends all the way to the end customer. Attitudes to payment can differ enormously and negotiating the complex nuances is no easy task.

In China, for example, the phone is often used for payment and facial recognition is gaining traction. People there are comfortable with using technology and sharing data. Europe and the United States tend to be card centric as these are often tied to loyalty schemes. In other regions, cash is still king.

This creates challenges for airlines. Their global nature makes decisions on payment options difficult to assess. “That is why it’s beneficial to work with a global payment provider like Elavon rather than a local bank,” says Li. “We can help an airline to understand the channels in which they should invest.”

This is not a one-size-fits-all sector. It is essential to adapt to market conditions and the behavior of the customer. For some countries, a multitude of payment channels might offer the best potential. In others, a less is more approach might yield better results.

Overcoming regulatory challenges

As with culture, regulations differ from country to country. For airlines, this makes compliance time consuming and resource heavy. Different licenses are required and, even in established markets, obtaining them can be complex undertakings.

“When an airline sets up a new route, it has enough to do without worrying about payment options or terms and conditions,” says Li. “There are staffing considerations, marketing, scheduling, and much more. Again, it is best to leave the payment sector to an expert global provider.” 

All these factors contribute to a friction-free payment process. Airlines are driven to eliminate any obstacles in payment as it can result in lost revenue, or an unhappy customer. In Europe, the Elavon Transaction Risk Analysis (TRA) product can have an enormous impact too. When adopted by an airline, it improves the customer experience by allowing low-risk transactions up to €500 ($489) in value to flow through the approvals process without challenge.

Li believes airlines are finally beginning to give payment the focus it deserves. But this isn’t just about making the checkout screen load faster or strengthening the approval process. Yes, payment should be quick and easy but improving the experience and the conversion rate requires a more holistic approach.

“When an airline decides on a new payment channel, it is deploying an opportunity for revenue growth,” she says. “It deserves the attention you would give any new revenue stream. Some people will become a customer because of the new payment channel, or an existing customer might spend more.

“Payment is about continuing to deliver value to the customer,” she continues. “Diversity is the key to that. It promotes a deeper understanding of the customer’s needs and fosters creativity and balanced solutions. Elavon’s diverse team can provide knowledge and trust and ensure airlines deliver that value in turn.”

For more information on how the Elavon Global Airlines team can help with your payment channels, visit https://www.elavon.com/

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