Take Stock! Presented by Commusoft

Transforming Payments with Instant Bank Pay - Commusoft meets GoCardless ft. Pat Phelan

September 13, 2023 Commusoft Season 2 Episode 4
Transforming Payments with Instant Bank Pay - Commusoft meets GoCardless ft. Pat Phelan
Take Stock! Presented by Commusoft
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Take Stock! Presented by Commusoft
Transforming Payments with Instant Bank Pay - Commusoft meets GoCardless ft. Pat Phelan
Sep 13, 2023 Season 2 Episode 4

Welcome back to a TakeStock! presented by Commusoft. Today, we explore Instant Bank Pay—https://www.commusoft.co.uk/software-integrations/gocardless/—featuring Pat Phelan, Chief Customer Officer of GoCardless!

Pat is an experienced CCO and has shared his wealth of customer knowledge with us. Have a listen and learn all about how GoCardless and Commusoft have partnered to make taking one-off payments easy, with Instant Bank Pay!

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Welcome back to a TakeStock! presented by Commusoft. Today, we explore Instant Bank Pay—https://www.commusoft.co.uk/software-integrations/gocardless/—featuring Pat Phelan, Chief Customer Officer of GoCardless!

Pat is an experienced CCO and has shared his wealth of customer knowledge with us. Have a listen and learn all about how GoCardless and Commusoft have partnered to make taking one-off payments easy, with Instant Bank Pay!

Rhys [00:00:00] Hello listeners, and welcome to the latest episode of Take Stock, presented by Commusoft. I'm Rhys Pattimore and today I'm very pleased to be sharing some screen time with Pat Phelan, Customer Communication Officer at GoCardless, who are a global leader in direct bank payments.

You may have heard that recently Commusoft and GoCardless have partnered together and we're very excited, because it means it's now even easier for our clients to take single customer payments, get paid fast, and even save some money too. With Instant Bank Pay, powered by GoCardless, and Direct Debits coming soon in the future, it's a great time to explore new payment innovations.

But as we mentioned, we are of course joined by Pat Phelan today who's here to talk more about his own experiences and discuss more about the world of online payments. Welcome to the show, pat. We're very glad to have you here with us.

Pat: Awesome. Thanks. Great to be here, Rhys.

Rhys: So we'll dive right in there, Pat. I think it's great for the audience just to hear a bit about your experiences and [00:01:00] your role at GoCardless.

Pat: Okay, well, um, yeah, gosh, I've been, I've been in software for quite a while now, really, before it was even considered Software as a Service really. I started in the world of on-prem. Um, and has that sort of evolved into what we know today? Um, kind of evolved with it, so I've, I've always been in, in, in customer, uh, focused role, um, in, in some points, um, throughout my career.

Um about four years ago, joined GoCardless, uh, as Chief Customer Officer and really explicitly with the remit to, to, to, to build out, um, the actual customer function and to just really. Yeah, just evolved the offering, um, as it kind of evolved with our customers themselves. So from that perspective, it's been a great journey. Um, we've learned a lot, done a lot. Um, but as always, there's lots to do still.

Rhys: No, for sure. I can imagine. There's, uh, lots of opportunities to innovate and, uh, improve things.

Pat: Yeah. Yeah. Never standing still, that's for sure.

Rhys: So you mentioned, um, [00:02:00] obviously a bit about where you got started in your career then. Um, so what's your, can you dive into that a little bit more? What's your own professional journey 

Pat: Yeah, so, so originally, um, you know, I, I, I joined an organization called, uh, Taleo. Um, and Taleo we're a workforce software management company. Um, actually I tell I joined an organization called Verve, first, who got acquired by Taleo. Um, so that was kind of the, the early, the early. Uh, very early SaaS, I would say, uh, kind of a hybrid on-prem SaaS.

So, so the, the concept of, of really, um, uh, Uh, buying effectively licenses, um, remotely to be able to run your businesses was really kicking off. And to give you some context, like Workday, I think were like 30 people in the UK when, when I joined Verve. So they would've been sort of a, a competitor of ours.

So, you know, when you look at the scale of Workday, you know, over the years, it kind of gives you a good sense of, of the stage that was at. But it was definitely the world where, um, [00:03:00] organizations were realizing that the customer experience was more than support.

Um, and that as you moved away from a sort of a, you know, licenses in perpetuity and into more of a, a, um, a monthly model that you also had to really evolve the support that you were giving customers in order for them to see value in what you were delivering. Um, so went through that for a couple of years, uh, then moved into the world of e-comm because obviously that was really kicking off early 2000's, um, post, I think, yeah, that, that would've been pre bubble. Um, I think 2000, 2008 from recollection was when the real fun kicked off in, in the .com world.

But, you know, e-commerce was really starting to take off and, and I again, moved into more customer focused roles, um, more senior leadership customer roles, um, and then moved into social media management. Um, again, SaaS platform, SaaS tech. Um, but this was much more of a global role. Um, and, and, and really [00:04:00] it was a, a, a scenario where, again, uh, similar in terms of the type of Product that, that, that was being sold insofar as it was, it was something that required that that level of customer support, both through implementation, onboarding, and beyond. Um, and, and the customer experience was, you know, critical as it always is. And, and then GoCardless came knocking really. And, you know, uh, the, the, the journey I've definitely been on has taken, uh, a lot of twists and turns

but fundamentally, the mechanics were, were very much the same around, uh, the importance of customer experience, the importance of ease, the importance of value. And really the, the overall proposition. So yeah, so I learned a lot and, and for my sins last four and a half years have been FinTech and, you know, more specifically Account-to-Account.

Um, it's a, it's an area that is vast and, and, you know, evolving rapidly.

Um, but super [00:05:00] exciting mainly because I, I, I don't think I've, I've been in a world where, you know, the, the responsibility, um, of what we do to our customers is so, so, impactful.

Uh, I, I, I do use the phrase a lot, like, uh, outside of, you know, an individual's health and their family, we, we deal with the, the third most important, uh, asset they have.

You know, and I, I, I love kind of framing it like that because it is, and, and I think as an organization, everything that we've done and everything that we do, is really with that at the heart of it, that, that, you know, however we look at it, that has to be what it kind of always comes back to. So, yeah, so here and enjoying it and getting to work with cool merchants and cool partners and yeah, loving it.

Rhys: No, that's great. That's really interesting. I mean, that variation from, um, going through all those different industries and, [00:06:00] uh, I imagine working with lots of different types of customer. I mean, at the end of the day, they're still people. Uh, but every, everything must have been, it must been quite an informative experience to take you to where you've been. 

Pat: Yeah. You, you learn a lot. You learn a lot. You learn about what's consistent and what doesn't change. But, you know, the other side to it is you learn what, what does. And I think one of the biggest lessons I've learned over my journey over the last kind of 15 to 20 years is, you know, you can't get bogged down in, assuming what works somewhere else will work here again, um, there are some immutable truths that never change, you know, no matter who your customer is, whether it be a, you know, a multinational B two B or self-employed window cleaner they still want and expect the same outcome, um, for what they engage with you on. Now, the, the quantum will be different, the consequences might be different, but [00:07:00] the expectation is always the same. And I think the, the, the thing I love is trying to, trying to figure out like what that experience needs to be whilst you also factor in, you know, things like cost and efficiency and, and how you go to market and things like that.

So, so I think the world of FinTech is really, It has changed even in the four years that I've been in, in, you know, in our world particularly, um, where. It very much kind of evolved as operational. So, you know, the kind of support the customer got was, was definitely very much, I would say, more reactive, kind of, you know, first line support and now it's kind of really morphing into, into, you know, multi-channel, um, multi capability.

And quite frankly, you know, just more sophisticated in general depending on how you scale and how your company scales and what your growth ambitions are. So, yeah. Yeah, there's a lot, there's a lot to factor in that's for sure.

Rhys: Is the difficulty, I suppose, of that making it still feel like what the services you're offering are easily accessible, convenient. Because like I said, [00:08:00] it gets more complex, um, in some ways, but then convenience is what people really are sort of vying for, especially when it comes to managing payments and sending payments and, and things like that.

Pat: Yep. No, a hundred percent. And I think, so there's a couple of things, you know, that, that we do focus a lot on, particularly with the, you know, the, I mean the, the, the types of customers that, that that's our core, um, the customers that we grow up with as a business over the last 10 years. And, and obviously, you know, partnerships with the likes of yourselves sort of really accentuates and accelerates that.

And, and I think from our perspective, you know, convenience does matter: there's no question about it. Uh, you know, payments psychologically are, are kind of very different. It's not low intent. It's, it's the kind of thing that people, you know, that has multiple strands into, you know, your own personal finances, your, your, your, uh, financial forecasts.

It doesn't matter if you're an individual or a merchant. Like[00:09:00] there's a lot there and there's a lot to unpack. So there's a couple of things that at its baseline level, you, you know, we have to get right. And certainly convenience from a payments perspective is one of them. I mean, we know that, you know, people will, will abandon payments in in an instant if, if they feel that there's any complexity or there's any risk or there's any, any challenge that they might have. Um, they'll do it if, if it's difficult. I mean, and you know, one of the fascinating things over the last couple of years is the, the definition of difficulty now online has gone from, you know, plug in your modem 15 years ago and being willing to wait five minutes for an internet connection to literally milliseconds.

You know, if, if the, if, if the, the, the call to action is even out of your eye line, it say, oh yeah, that's a bit that, ah, don't like that, move on. So I think from our perspective, it's really important that we're we're available as a payment option.

Really in every way. So, you know, from a UX perspective, from an availability perspective, um, and, and most importantly in this [00:10:00] instance, from a, from a, an integration perspective, you know. Your customers, uh, again, from a convenience point of view are, don't have time to be worrying about a lot of these things, like they, they, they want this capability to, to be relatively seamless. And again, we know what that means in reality and, and how hard it is to, to, in some cases get to that level. But we have to, and I think again, partnerships with. People like yourself, um, kind of again adds to that level of, I guess, convenience, where you don't have to worry, uh, once the integration's in place and once the capability is there and ideally the time to value in terms of the benefits that, you know, both our platforms bring is, is accelerated.

And, and again, that's another area that I'm really spending a lot of time thinking about. Like how do we, how do we accelerate that as much as possible?

Rhys: Hmm. And I think a big thing for us is obviously making it, we refer to it as, uh, [00:11:00] customer journeys and trying to provide the best experience possible so that our clients can help their customers as quickly as possible. 

From, whether it's doing emergency plumbing or fire security checks or like HVAC installations or anything, anything like that, that, I think a lot of the time as well, they're dealing with people very personally. So it's at homes or places of business. Um, the last thing you want is for anything to really get in the way and cause delays and payments especially, I think, you know, now being a, uh, difficult time for financially as well for a lot of people, the, the, the fewer barriers there are in the way... ,

Pat: E. Exactly. Exactly. And the other, the other aspect to it, I think is, is also the, it's the balance between, you know, the experience that your customer's going to get with you in a, in a sit in, in various situations as a, as a merchant. But also, you know, being cognizant of the fact that it is still a business and it does still require the collection of payment as fast [00:12:00] and as cost effectively as possible. So I think it's, it's really that's finding that sweet spot between the two and, and you know, the core capability that, that, I know you, you folks are, are sort of kicking off with the instant bank pay, um, you know, a again, because it offers that kind of speed to payment and that, you know, frictionless kind of experience, it, it takes away that, that kind of the possibility for payment and the request of payment to become, let's be honest, like in some cases sort of awkward.

You know, it's, it's, it's integrated into the actual journey itself and, and it's quite a seamless experience and I think that's really important and I see that a lot with our with our customers, you know, the, the, the ability to do that.

Obviously you've got convenience and you've got the cost, um, uh, benefits and savings. But, but there is the, the, the, the experience and, and the relationship aspect of it too. And I think we see that more and more becoming a, a real, real [00:13:00] value add.

Rhys: Yeah, I, for sure. I think one thing that's been interesting for our clients, I think historically as well with, you know, uh, plumbers, electricians, uh, any sort of hands-on jobs, it's taken a long time, I think, to um, get people up to speed and like adopt solutions like, like ours or like GoCardless, um, as a means of like speeding things up and improving things.

Uh, 'cause cash in hand for a lot of jobs was, was the things for a long time. And I think the education part of it, in a way is, is some of the biggest challenge like we, we have. Um, is that something that you've learned to adapt over time?

Pat: Yeah. Yeah, we do. Like we know in the UK specifically, you know, the preference for and, and quite frankly, the understanding around the world of account to account and bank payments is, is super high, right? We, we, we know that most people are comfortable in terms of paying in that way, particularly through, you know, the direct debit mechanism. And, and with the onset and the kind of evolution of open banking, [00:14:00] there's, there's, there's definitely another education layer to this because, you know, once you start to move away from what people are used to, which is, you know, in certain verticals and certain for certain services, it's a no-brainer: they won't even think twice about it. But then all of a sudden it, it becomes, it, it, it sort of shows up somewhere else, uh, in a different way.

And it's, oh, okay, that, that looks, that looks different. That looks different to what I'm used to. So, so I think when we looked at, so something like Instant Bank Pay, for example, you know, the, the positioning and the very clear kind of outline, um, to both merchants, uh, and customers that, you know, this is an evolution of effectively the ability to pay direct, uh, and from a merchant's perspective, you know, the convenience, the cost, and from a customer perspective pretty much the same, but mainly from a, from a sort of a convenience perspective and, and the ability to, to to, to sort of set and forget, but know that there's a there's a, a limit and there, there's, there's authorization there, but, but it's more fluid and it allows you [00:15:00] to be sort of consume services in different ways without having to reset, you know, um, a mandate, for example, regularly or, or, or, uh, uh, cancel and re rebuild. So things like that I think are definitely, um, uh, areas that we're, we're spending a lot of time. Um, uh, you know, educating as much as we can. I think from a merchant's perspective, there's an exercise there too. Um, because I think the, the, the benefits we're seeing from, from a merchant's point of view are really almost immediate. 

Uh, particularly with, with products like Instant Bank Pay, um, because you know, there are certain areas of merchant's lifecycle where we know historically it's very time consuming and it's very admin heavy. So if you think about late payment collection, if you think about delinquent payments, you know, let alone being paid on time for, you know, the services that you deliver at that particular point in time I think it's, it's definitely well understood and I think a lot of our time is, is spent with merchants just again, um, helping [00:16:00] them to communicate to their end customers, finding the right channels to insert. Elements like this. So for example, you know, automated payments, uh, through invoices, um, you know, again, through, through, uh, platforms like yourselves, you know, that, that's kind of the way I think certainly with open banking and particularly in instant bank pay, that that's evolving. Uh, and there's a lot, there's a lot of comfort, I guess from a customer's perspective that, well, you know, if an invoice comes and there's an option to pay, well, I'm, I'm going to take that option because it's clearly, you know, it's credible. It's, it's, it's recent. Um, and then there's a lot of other kind of areas for, for customers to take advantage of too. Um, so yeah, we're, we're, we're always making sure that we have that level of confidence and then, Going back to the customer experience, we spend a lot of time with our internal support teams, for example, uh, working with customers where there are queries, there are, you know, uh, concerns. Making sure that there are people at the other end of the phone. Again, going back to the point about it [00:17:00] being an individual's money. Uh, so we're very cognizant that we don't take anything for granted on either side of that kind of journey, you know?

Rhys Yeah, no, for sure. I think that that sense of peace of mind, like I said earlier, it's, it's, if it's the, uh, one of the biggest things that people will worry about, then the more you put them at ease, then the easier it is to have that experience together where they can benefit from, um, a, a, a solution which clearly works like, which people clearly enjoy using as well.

Pat: Yeah, we, they do. And, and again, that go back to what I said at the beginning, it's really, it's really incredible to work in an industry where you know, you hear this stuff firsthand from both the merchant's perspective and the individual company's perspective. Um, you know, we, we spend a lot of time, um, thinking about the journey and the journeys that both merchants and customers are on with GoCardless and, and the partners that we integrate with.

Um, and kind of, you know, we, we do that both reactively and proactively. I, I kind of would say that [00:18:00] we're, we're reactive in terms of, you know, we spend quite a lot of resource around areas like NPS collection, NPS analysis, uh, net promoter score for those people on the podcast that, um, I'm sure everybody knows it, but just to be clear, um, and, and, you know, we, we act a lot on that feedback.

Um, so that tells us really what the pulse, so the base is. Um, and, and we, we've always been very diligent about that. And proactively, you know, we, we we're constantly testing and learning, like we said at the beginning, like we, we never stand still. And I think, you know instant bank pay is a really good example.

You know, how, how, how it aligns with the direct debit proposition. Um, uh, how, how it, it, it aligns separately and, and together, you know, in terms of a one-off first payment and then followed up by, you know, monthly, regular payments for, for something like a gym or, or a subscription service. Right through to, you know, one-off for, you know, a lot of merchants like, like you'll have yourselves where, where the, the, the payments are maybe le less [00:19:00] regular and, and vary.

So we're always learning in that regard. Um, and, and, you know, we will kind of continue to do that always. Um, but it's, again, it's always at the heart of making that journey as, as seamless and, and as, as, as kind of confidence, uh, uh, inducing I guess as possible.

Rhys: Yeah, no, for sure. I mean, I'm curious as well, like you mentioned, how rapidly things can change. Um, obviously in the last few years, um, we have covid and then everything happening with the, uh, global economy right now as well, to say the least. Um, has, has that sped things up?

Has it made navigating these changes like more challenging for you guys to like try and help customers in other ways? Or is it something that, how has that affected things I suppose at GoCardless?

Pat: I mean, you need to be more specific about what crisis you're talking about. Over the last couple of years, it's been, it's been a heck of a [00:20:00] journey. I think it's gonna be years before most of us at this industry or any industry will actually truly you know, comprehend what we've, what we've been through. But, you know, if I take Covid specifically, I think it's important certainly from in, in the kind of world that, that I, I work in from a customer perspective to never really lose sight of, you know, what impact that had. And I think when I think about it, there was probably three significant things that, that, that have left a legacy and that we're seeing more and more become just part of the conversations that we're having.

I think the first one on a personal note, uh, from an organizational perspective was that it really brought to light, um, how critical what we do and what our partners do um, for, for our merchants and our customers in the context of their business and their lives. Uh, I, I, [00:21:00] I was very clear with my team when, when Covid first hit, all SLAs are out the window. Um, all, you know, all internal guardrails that we had in terms of, you know, call or response times and, and, and, you know, call tickets per, per agent. They're gone. I don't care, like you're picking up the phone. You spending as long as you need to spend with these folks. 

And you know, if we can't resolve it, we will be straight and we'll get on an alternative. And if we can, we do it bloody fast.

I think that was the first thing. And, and I think that's really important, and that to me was a, you know, it was a, it was something that I hold now really, really at my core is the importance of what we do. Because it wasn't about, it wasn't about most cases, expansion or, or about like cash flow per se.

It was about survival. 

Um, that's like, it was super humbling, um, to, to have the ability to, to, to influence that and to help that [00:22:00] in some ways. So that's kind of the first thing, and I think that's for all of us. I think that's a really important one to, to, to keep in mind because especially when you deal with, you know, the S M B merchant world, you know, the margins are tight, you know, of your merchants. 

Rhys: Yeah, I mean a lot of our, um, clients, uh, were front frontline, um, still having to do necessary and important work, like going into people's homes and things like that. It was putting people in, in harm's way effectively, but being able to help 'em through that was definitely something we were keen to do and were able to do thankfully. So.

Pat: Yeah. Yeah. It's something that is, that is super important. And I think, so that was the internal kind of shift. And then from a I'd say a market shift, uh, the, the, the two core areas that, that we've seen, you know, a lot more around. Um, I guess, no, it's no surprise, like the, the takeoff in digital and the adoption of just digital generally kind of [00:23:00] exploded.

Um, in terms of, you know, areas that historically online might have transacted a lot less, um, exploded. Um, areas where, You know, we're already on a, an upward trajectory just went into, into a different orbit. So what we saw a lot of was different types of conversations around payment preference and about payment options becoming accelerated because very, very quickly, consumers were just spending so much time online now that, that they demanded.

So the preferences were accentuated, the preferences were accelerated. Right. Whereas maybe it was a two year thing, now maybe it's a two month thing, right?

So, so we definitely saw a lot of that and we saw that kind of flowing into the, the competitive aspect. If you didn't have it, people were, again, going back to the convenience. Topic earlier that wasn't really a, a world where, where they were, they were, you know, gonna play and, and, and, uh, stick around for. 

[00:24:00] And I think the second one from a merchant's perspective was the, the payment kind of visibility and confidence. Um, We know, and I mean, it's in the news recently around the tax that, that fees, uh, um, kind of could drive for, for a lot of merchants and, and the cost of that. That definitely was accentuated given the volumes that were starting to, to, to, sorry, the acceleration of the volumes being transacted. You know, we, we, we we're, we're very clear, you know, the, our, our mission is, is simply sort of money flowing from one account to another.

And, and, you know, as, as, as seamless and as straightforward as we can do that, and as cost effectively as you can do that, that's what we're here to do. And whilst that's understood, um, as those volumes skyrocketed then the costs, uh, became, you know, a real, um, challenge for a lot of merchants as well as the visibility on that cost and the control. Uh, and, and then obviously with the confidence, it's really just, you know, the confidence that the [00:25:00] payments will come uh, when they, they're expected to come, uh, and in some cases, ideally faster. So, you know, those were the kind of narratives that we certainly saw through that period. And, and again, the, the, the recent cost of living crisis has just continued really, that, that trajectory. It hasn't changed it in any way.

Rhys: I mean, it's interesting I think to think about, just how much that did accelerate, uh, demand for cer certain features. Like we, we've seen it a lot with, um, self-service tools becoming, uh, a lot very convenient so people can just log in, do something on their mobile app or our clients can send a link to their customers to access things very quickly and rapidly.

Um, and that makes such a big difference. But I don't think it necessarily as, like I said, it could have been a two, three year thing, uh, to make that convenience happen, but then it just got sped up so, so much faster.

Have you been able to, I mean clearly you have been able to adapt to make that work, but is that part of the, one of the bigger [00:26:00] challenges you, you'd say you've had? 

Pat: Uh, yeah, I mean, I think we, we were fortunate in some ways insofar as the, the our, our direction around open banking particularly. Um, with the, the launch of Instant Bank Pay and with the launch of, you know, other products that, that, were focused on, you know, uh, fraud detection and um, uh, failed payment, success rates and improvements were kind of already in the hopper. Um, so, so from a timing perspective, being able to, to kind of integrate those with the, the, the core, uh, direct debit. uh, payment, uh, offering was, was, was pretty timely. And I think it, it, it offered merchants just that, that kind of expansion, I guess, of, of payment options, um, to allow, you know, whatever bank to bank preference their customers would have to be accommodated. Um, so again, going back to sort of instant bank [00:27:00] pay, you know, the ability to do that in a one-off way. Um, whilst their, their kind of online transactions were, were moving, you know, up into the right, uh, in a world where perhaps subscription wasn't really the core of their business was, was super timely for us because you are able to offer, uh, you know, both options. You are able to offer them together, you're able to, you know, and, and, and I think that was really the value that that we were able to bring pretty quickly. 

And, and you know, we can, we can already see that continuing. Um, uh, I, we haven't really seen, you know, the volumes of merchants who who've experienced, you know, rapid growth through Covid kind of dip away. It, it, it feels like it's been pretty consistent now because their business models has changed, have changed rather, it wasn't a, a one and done in most cases. Now, it a bit like the, you know, working in the office, it's become hybrid where their, their online world is now probably in, in, sorry, in many cases the similar to what, what the, the, the in-person world is.

Um, so that's been [00:28:00] really interesting as well to adapt to the, the business model changes as much as the actual preference changes.

Rhys: Yeah, it makes sense I suppose as the, as businesses change how they do things, then as a merchant who's able to help them out, you guys will adapt accordingly as well.

Pat: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Rhys: With, instant Bank pay in mind, I think I know one thing that we've experienced at Commusoft: we've offered being able to integrate with other partners and offered various ways of, um, helping our clients request payments or things like that.

But the, one of the biggest detractors has obviously been when they're charged massive percentages of their profits and things as well, and instant bank pay has has a capped amount, I believe it's four, a maximum of £4, um, on a, even if it's a, you know, a £10,000 fee. how is it that you guys have been able to make that work for you and be able to provide that service for customers like ours?

Pat: Yeah, [00:29:00] I mean, you know, cash, um, cash is all you mentioned earlier on about cash, right? That, that, you know, in, in, in a lot of the, kind of, with a lot of merchants and customers that we would work with historically, cash has been something that, that is, is pretty much par for the course. And I think it's the transition, you know, from that to the ability to take payments through something like Instant Bank Pay has been, you know, the area that we've, we've really focused hard on. And I think, you know, there, there's been a couple of areas that that, that we've seen that has accelerated that kind of adoption. Um, both from a merchant and customer perspective.

I mean, you mentioned about credit card fees, like there's no doubt about it, the way, that's kind of the way that's been talked about now in a very direct public kind of, you know, transparent way and the impact that that has on, on the ability for merchants to, to, you know, continue the journeys they're on. You know, has, has, I [00:30:00] think, been, um, been good from not, not even speaking selfishly. I think just generally the awareness, the education around it, uh, and the impact that it has. So I think from my perspective, you know, that's really the first area that we, we, we see a lot of, of our conversations coming from.

I mean, you know, cash itself through the pandemic, uh, we talked about it earlier on, I think it was that like an all time low in, you know, two years ago? Um, I can't remember the exact percentages, but I think something like in the 15 to 18% range. So clearly digital adoption, uh, has been accelerated, but now again, the costs come really to the forefront and, you know, products like ours, so payment options, like, uh, instant bank pay through open banking, you know, you, you're talking about half the the cost effectively, uh, of what it, uh, costs to, to run through credit cards. So, so there's a lot of very compelling elements there that, that have, that has helped us really, um, to drive, you know, what we want to, and, and I [00:31:00] think, I just think more and more customers, irrespective of size or just have, become just so much more aware and educated around the impact that all of these small but significant costs have on their, on their direct cost, but also as you look at the total cost of, you know, ownership, I mean, we use that term a lot: total cost of ownership. And, and I think it's really important to use that, particularly as you, you move into the small, medium business world because the total cost of ownership is how much it costs to actually transact plus your time.

And I think, you know, we all know that time literally is money.

If, if you're, uh, if you're, you're working for yourself or gosh, even, you know, 20, 30 people with under you, like, it's, it's, it is money and, and I think anything that can help with the combination of both those two things, the direct cost of the transaction, plus [00:32:00] the ability to give you back time: it's pretty compelling. Um, and, and that's kind of the core of, of what we see a lot.

Um, and, and that's not really even taking into account preference, you know, customers I think particularly now when you look at, you know, the, again, the conversations around buy now, pay later or, or again, cost of credit card fees, you know, money is being watched more carefully than it's ever been before. Uh, and you know, the more we can facilitate the ease of integration through partners, you know, bank to bank, I think the more that kind of narrative is becoming, uh, uh, and has become a lot more prevalent. 

Rhys: For sure. And I think that's something that we've been conscious of , knowing that our, uh, clients often have very tight margins or, um, are dealing with the potential for large chunks of their, uh, income to be taken with like large bank transfer fees and things like that. Um,

Pat: Yep.

Rhys: Even in the new pieces of software we've been putting together with like sales, we've tried [00:33:00] to make it as clear as possible that no matter what they're doing, no matter what they're sending to their customers, it one makes sense for the customer.

So it's as clear as possible to see like the cost is X, Y, and Z. Um, break that down for them. But then if they're offering discounts and things as well, they can look behind the scenes to say, well, I know that this is gonna cost me.

If I discount this much, then it's gonna, I'm still making a profit, basically, is what we wanted to highlight.

And it's interesting to see how that has impacted their own approach to, I guess, like adopting software, adopting solutions, which make it clear for them and clear for clear for the customer.

Pat: Yeah, it's really, it is really fascinating actually to see how. Technology has been adopted in, in areas that traditionally, as you say, were very cash, very kind of manual.

Um, and, and it is, it's that first step I think is always the, the difficult one. Um, you know, and that's why, for example, we run 90 day free trials, mainly because we kind of acknowledge that it's just important to work with how the, the customer [00:34:00] dynamic works. You know, they're, they're not necessarily willing to take the leap, um, uh, in, in, in a committed way immediately. But like, we're very confident that as soon as you start to see the impact that taking this off your plate and automating it through partners can have, then it becomes a bit of a no-brainer.

So yeah, we, uh, I think just always trying to work in that direction makes sense.

Rhys: Yeah, no, for sure. That's, it is great to see like other companies taking the same sort of approach, I think, to really make sure that they're helping the, putting the customer first.

Pat: Yeah. Yeah. It's easy to say, but you know, it's where the rubber hits the road is, is shows if you're really doing it.

Rhys: Yeah, for sure. With, with that in mind, um, I think it's always great to hear like a, a good success story and obviously you've, you've been in a lot of different, uh, businesses and sort of worked very hard to get where, where you're now um, do you have a particular success story that comes to mind when you think of customers you've helped.

Pat: Yeah. I mean there's, there's, there are lots of them and, and they vary enormously. I mean, one [00:35:00] that excuse. Um, you know, springs to mind straightaway a company that, that, that had been with us a long time. Well, uh, you know, from their inception, which was back in, I think 2019, 2020, uh, Cuckoo Broadband, um, you know, very competitive area as you can imagine. Um, you know, very punchy company, um, type margins. You know, all the, all the, the the sort of elements that you'd expect from, from a, a kind of a digital first, uh, startup. They, they were with us since 2020, been through multiple funding rounds before then 250%, you know, growth year over year and, and, you know, an acquisition, um, uh, about four months ago, I think, so like a hell of a journey, you know, two and a half, three year from from startup to to sale. 

And you know, whilst we have lots of examples of, of customers where, you know, they started their journey with us. I mean, this was, this felt like it was super, a super intense one that we had to be very nimble and, and [00:36:00] very able to support them on that journey. Um, and, and the reason I kind of say that is because it was the combination of instant bank pay. Plus direct debit as a proposition was kind of at the core of their offering. So as you can imagine, when it comes to, you know, broadband, there's, there's the upfront, uh, cost of the actual equipment plus the, the, the, the ongoing subscription.

So, you know, they were one of the really early adopters of the combination of the two to be able to take the payment instantly through instant bank pay, knowing that the money is there, that the, the risk is kind of gone, uh, that, you know, from a, from a, from a customer perspective, they had confidence that this was all legit. And then at the same time, during the same experience, you're, you have the customer signing up for the ongoing monthly payments as well. So it was, it was a very kind of seamless merchant customer experience. And, and that proposition is one that, We've actually seen play out now multiple times since

because of [00:37:00] that sort of hybrid, um, uh, I guess business model of, of the upfront cost for one element.

So again, going back to the, the gym subscriptions, you know, you, you pay your membership fee and then you, you, you, you pay your monthly fee. But we were able to facilitate with Cuckoo with the ability to do all of that in the initial journey. Um, and, and the other reason I kind of remember, uh, and, and flag it myself really is, um, they, they also had, um, uh, some separate like delinquent payment, um, challenges for which they used instant bank pay explicitly to collect those payments.

And the, the, the take up, uh, and the success rates in there were, were off the charts. And that, that, that's a really interesting kind of call out because it's, it's outside of the core use case and it's way, way further, you know, into the the, the internal funnel as it were.

But it really kind of showed to us the ability [00:38:00] to, to to, to look at our, our, you know, product set in a, in a unified way, but also in a way where, you know, elements of it are able to target very specific challenges. Um, and I think for, you know, think about, I have no doubt that the kind of merchants that Commusoft, you know, operate with i, I have no doubt that there are challenges in areas like that, for example, and, and going back to the point of time is money: nobody wants to be chasing payments.

Uh, and the ability to have, you know, a a, a onetime one-off bank to bank as part of that process, knowing that the fees are, you know, effectively half of what a credit card fee would be, and the success rates are, you know, in the 70, 80% by benchmark. Um, it's pretty powerful. So yeah, they, they were the one, they, they definitely were one that, that kind of stood out. Yeah.

Rhys: Nice. I mean, a lot of that ring, uh, like you said, a lot of the merchants that we, um, or clients rather, will be that we work with, those same solutions will come in handy for them. Like, I know one, one of the, [00:39:00] it's no, uh, coincidence. I think that one of our most popular blog articles is about chasing, uh, non-paying customers.

And it's obviously a big issue, but being able to say, Hey, here's an, here's the instant bank link. And it's just as quick as quick as that and cost effective, that's great. And then I think like sort of subscriptions or our clients being able to offer like repeat services and direct debits down the line will help, will help them.

Pat: Yeah. Yeah. And that, that's what we're here for too. Just to be clear. Like we, a lot of our education, whether it be through our self-serve channels, which you know, is, is, is probably the bulk of our, our business by, by, by customer volume. Um, and our more, uh, committed type channels, um, which, which are, you know, the larger organizations who, who will have more of a, a a benefit from, you know, more, more committed type forecasting. Um, you know, we, we, we, we try and, and make sure that the the services that we [00:40:00] provide and the support we provide, you know, allows them to at least, you know, think through other options, um, that, that our, our, our, uh, technology can, can impact. And that's what I love seeing. I love seeing where, um, customers start with one thing in mind and then, you know, Six, 12 months later were, were in the areas of their business that they would never even really thought about.

And, and you know, I I, I keep telling my teams to be as provocative as possible when it comes to stuff like this because kind of you don't know what you don't know, right? And, and, and I think having that environment to, to push you and challenge you, you know, is, is useful I think.

Rhys: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I imagine that helps with, um, innovating and coming up with new ideas and new solutions. Like has that helped, would you say, shape some of the, the, the things that, the challenges you're working to overcome? That kind of sense of

Pat: Yeah, I, I think it has, and I think going back to my point around like being excessive around net promoter scores, around customer satisfaction scores, you know, that's where the bulk of our, our [00:41:00] input comes from.

Um, you know, we, we, we see use cases we see. Requests, you know, that, that, you know, it starts as kind of whispers and pretty quickly become shouts and, you know, and then we, we act on it.

Like, that's, that's the way any, that's the beauty about the model that we have is, is the ability to roadmap out based on what our customers need and want. And, and ultimately, you know, One of the mantras we have in our, our, you know, product world is, is that we, we, we, we want customers to want to use GoCardless.

And, and, you know, in order to get them to do that, we need to very deeply understand what that looks like across the, the, the, the, the, the verticals that we know we operate really well in. And in some cases, the ones that we don't operate in yet. Like, what's that going to take? And, and is there really the, the, the value to the customer there too?

So I think that's what I kind of get very passionate about because, um, you know, in most cases you, you don't really know what that is. You've got a good idea directionally. So, [00:42:00] you know, in terms of open banking, you know, we, we know that's a world where there's gonna be huge, um, huge evolution in, um, but what that looks like is, you know, to some degree to be determined. And, and it's our customers that are gonna tell us that.

Yeah, and, and again, working with, with, with partners like Commusoft just helps us not just see the, the, the payment um, Provision angle, but what, what, what else lives around that environment and what the connectivity needs to look like, you know, once the payment is collected or before the payment.

And that's the bit that I think, you know, the partner ecosystem is just phenomenal for us, for, um, it's hugely helpful.

Rhys: Really broadens those horizons for, for, for everyone. And if, and I think that's it at the end of the day, if it's gonna help improve things even more, then that's another great reason to partner and continue to like, help the customers in, in, in that way as well.

Pat: Exactly. Exactly.

Rhys: [00:43:00] Nice. Um, well we are sort of coming to the end now, more or less.

 But I, I would, I guess one, well close to one of the last final questions I'd like to ask. Obviously, you've worked with a lot of different companies and we've, um, knowing what our, uh, our own clients are like.

Um, are there any things that you've noticed that I guess that would maybe help, uh, trades, businesses or advice, I guess, that you are aware of, that could support how they, um, go about organizing payments or, uh, benefiting in 

Pat: Yeah. I mean, there's, there's, there's, there's, there's a couple that spring to mind. I think the first one is to think, just think about the total cost of ownership. I, I think, um, you know, A, a lot, a lot of us don't value our own time as much as we value other people's time. And, and I think it's really important that as you look at, you know, particularly the adoption of not just a, a payment provider, but a, an overall platform of which payments, you know, will hopefully be part of it. That you think about it in the cost [00:44:00] of not just the direct, uh, impact, um, but the, the indirect. And I think that's, that's something that if you are, you know, a, a, a global B two B business to business, uh, player or a a, a massive e-comm kind of outfit, the Amazons of the world, like, they'll obsess about that because that's where the real value is.

It isn't just about the cost of a payment, it's about everything that lives around that payment. So I would urge, you know, a lot of folks who are hopefully listening here, to just think about that and actually sit down and, and work out like how much time is being spent on elements that are related to the management of the business from a, um, a financial perspective, from a payments perspective. And put a, put a time, put a, put a number on that. And then that definitely puts everything else into context. 

Um, I think the second thing is around preference. Um, you know, it, it is important to gauge pavement preference. Um, [00:45:00] but think about it in the context of preference for the type of work that you do. Um, for some, you know, um, I'll be totally frank. Like some, you know, generationally cash will continue to be king for a while. Like, you know, and, and you don't wanna change that, that, that's just the reality of how things work. But, but I think there's, there's a growing kind of total addressable market of customers there who are, you know, digitally either informed or digitally native. And, you know, pushing that to the limit you can push it, I think is, is, is really exciting. I mean, the, the, the, there's nothing like, you know, receiving certainly as a, as a customer, um, you know, a service, uh, request for payment. I mean, obviously I'm massively biased, but I, I love, I love getting kind of, you know, an invoice that has a, the ability to pay immediately and one off when you're done, um, from, from somebody or from a, from a, a, a business that, that you just still mentally wouldn't necessarily expect it [00:46:00] from. And I think that's, that's really interesting. 

You look at the evolution of H M R C, for example, as you know, is a good case study here. You know, unfortunately for all of us who have to pay tax, um, if you ever, if you've ever had to do it, you know, through a self-assessment, for example, it was a little bit cumbersome and it's usually a reasonably high value transaction.

It's not like 20, 30 quid. Um, but now with their move across to open banking, you know, I mean that's like, that's utterly seamless now, and it's just phenomenal. And so I think that's the other aspect, like think about the preference side of it. 

And then the last part for me is the integrations. Um, you know, as a, as a, uh, a merchant of any size, you know, we, the ability for the, the, the more holistic view of how this is going to impact you is, is multiplied. When it's with partners and integrated into systems that, that just seamlessly sort of connect with each other and that just enhance that customer journey [00:47:00] and make it simple, but not just at one stage, you know, at multiple stages through the process. And that's a two-way trade off. It's phenomenal for merchants on multiple levels, but again, it creates a great customer experience in terms of the ability to, to um, to just join the dots on lots of those things.

So yeah, they, they'd be the kind of three areas that that certainly I try and advocate for, and, uh, talk about, um, when anyone's willing to listen.

Rhys: Yeah, absolutely. And I'm, I'm sure they will. We Yeah, that's good advice that we'll definitely keep sharing and, and make sure everyone's aware of as well.

Pat: Awesome. 

Rhys yeah, Is there anything else that you would like to add for our listeners before we wrap up?

Pat: Um, yeah, I mean, look, ultimately there's a lot of information out there about GoCardless, specifically about the, the relationship, um, that we have with Commusoft. So I would just recommend, um, anybody who's interested to either go to gocardless.com. Um, there's a ton of information there. Most of it's accessible at, you know, whether you are or aren't a, a customer, um, from an education [00:48:00] perspective and from an information perspective.

And obviously there's, there's a lot of information around the, the, and we'll continue to be around the, the partnership that we have with you guys. Um, so yeah, that, that's really the, the, the main request that I would have. And, and we're always available to help and inform where possible.

Rhys: That's perfect. Um, and don't forget then for our, for our listeners, uh, the GoCardless integration is available to all our clients on the Go Paperless plan and up. So to learn more, you can reach out to our team, um, and chat to us anytime. And we'll happily tell you more about this amazing tool and more of the partnership that's soon to come as well.

So, but until next time, um, it's been absolutely fantastic speaking today, pat, and really, really grateful for the conversation.

Pat: Yeah, I really enjoyed it. Rhys. Thanks for having me.

Pat Phelan, CCO
Learning from Experience
Payments and Customer Convenience
Customer Payment Journeys
Customer Education & Instant Bank Pay
Challenges, Past & Present
Accelerating Innovation & Instant Bank Pay
Making Payments Affordable
Instant Bank Pay Success Stories
Essential Support Advice
Closing Out