Infomedia Discuss Push For Standardisation At PSA Forum

Infomedia attended the Phone-paid Services Authority Autumn Forum with CEO, Michael Tomlins, forming part of the discussion panel focused on improving consumer confidence in the Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) payments industry.
It was encouraging to see wide-ranging support from industry stakeholders in regard to Infomedia’s push in developing standardisation within the DCB industry and an appreciation that, by learning lessons from other financial services sectors, we can attract the biggest brands to drive consumer trust and market growth.
Infomedia are taking the steps to standardisation by leading a working group to conduct research into other industries and territories experience of introducing new standards in both financial and non-financial products, for example contactless payments or utility smart-meters. Infomedia will be engaging with brands who have shown an interest in the DCB space to understand the consumer-focussed drivers that would lead to adoption of the payment method. The aim is to then bring this research into a global proposition backed by the consumer-bases of high quality brands who can most effectively deliver the education around the DCB payment method, as Apple has already begun:
“Apple’s impact is likely to extend beyond simply driving mobile network operator revenues. Not only is it effectively endorsing Operator Billing by adding it as a payment option, it is expected to influence and indoctrinate big brands and encourage them to follow suit. Apple’s arrival, coupled with the flurry of new content and service types, herald a market that after years of unfulfillment is finally in transition”
PSA Annual Market Review, September 2018
The industry can also be encouraged by significant improvements year on year in both consumer satisfaction and Net Promoter Score for the sector; the NPS improved from -31 in 2017 to -12 in 2018 (note that NPS scores are often negative if unadjusted for responder bias) and, for the first time, some service types produced positive NPS scores: Music, Books, Charity and Film & TV. Nick Lane of Mobile Squared summarised this in the following table:

High quality consumer entertainment is clearly the market which is driving the best consumer experiences; it is important that this evidence is used constructively to influence lesser performing services. Infomedia have already begun conducting research into providing an optimised consumer payment experience by examining how other methods utilise the customer payment journey and experience in the mobile space; how customers respond to different presentations of key data and what customers find most useful. A key point raised at the forum was that most payments technology standards are driven by brands delivering to their customer’s demands rather than regulatory change, and for mobile network operators for whom DCB is typically a very small revenue stream any technological change to bring standardisation must be supported by the promise of an influx of consumers drawn by those brands.
The highest proportion of consumer concern remained related to the dwindling voice-based services sector, however, PSA CEO Jo Prowse did sound a note of caution regarding disproportionate complaints received relating to subscription services; 90% of complaints received compared to a 15% market share (by payment model). To ensure that this important market sector remains appropriately regulated Infomedia is feeding into the PSA’s call for inputs regarding changes to rules relating to this type of service. Subscription services are a key business model for the larger global brands such as Microsoft, who have now fully embraced the recurring payment model for software, therefore it is vital that any restriction on such services are focussed solely on combatting demonstrably poor customer experiences.
The key takeaway from the forum is that the DCB market is growing and transitioning into maturity in terms of the quality of products available to be paid for through phone accounts, however effective engagement with brands already offering services into the market, with an established customer base and customer demand, will be key to driving the ongoing change and growth.

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