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The B2B leader pushing boundaries by sharing ideas and harvesting feedback

As the adoption of card payments continues to grow, NetPay has been there to support the transition. And with the company named 2015's business-to-business champion, MD Carl Churchill spoke with Real Business about how facing firms is done with innovation, ideas and feedback.
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NetPay is the multi-channel payment service provider, which delivers online and fixed point of sale services, and it’s that variety that allowed the firm to be named B2B Business of the Year at the Growing Business Awards 2015.

This range of support is provided via strategic partners and, in some cases, directly to large businesses in sectors such as financial services, telecoms, cash and carry, wholesale and more.

The firm’s more recent innovations have involved licensing its tech to banks to enhance reporting and analytics.

“Our aim from the outset was to deliver more than just the ability to process a card transaction to businesses, which is the commodity element of our industry. Service providers have been too focused on the benefits to the consumer and have not been thinking about what the business customer wants from a provider,” said Carl Churchill, MD at NetPay.

Continuing on the importance of operating as a business-facing business, Churchill added: “It’s not just about cheap rates, business owners want to understand more about their customers and plan their businesses better. Big blue chip companies may very well have a whole team of analysts and marketing methodologies to help do this, but SMEs do not have that luxury.

“That’s why we wanted to develop a solution that gives customers insight and performance analytics that helps them grow their business and understand their customers better, this way the focus is on ‘value’ rather than the typical commodity markets that can only focus on price.”

Over the years, the firm has bolstered the operation by introducing extra analytics to measure loyalty, with a view to let customers make more informed decisions.

Of course, the rise of mobile continues as new devices are launched and people become more connected in business and personal lives. As a result, NetPay has taken mobile payments into consideration to review how the experience can become more seamless between consumers and businesses, increasing the convenience on both sides as a result.

Read more winners’ stories from the Growing Business Awards:

In addition to mobile, there’s also been the advent of contactless and wearables. On the subject of new models, Churchill said: “We are seeing an increase in demand from our customers who are keen to embrace the underlying technology that allows them to accept contactless payments including mobile payments.

“Three years ago, this technology was unlikely to factor highly in a customer’s selection criteria, now it is firmly towards the top. The upshot of this in terms of impact is the increase in lower value transactions using this technology as consumers continue to switch even low value cash payments to card or other technology.

“On the receiving end – there is little impact in the way we process these but we are clearly more mindful of the importance and need to build solutions around these requirements to enable our customers to make their products and services more accessible and respond to the changing demands of the consumer.”

The firm is keen to stand out from rivals by investing heavily in research and development, “arguably considerably more than our peers,” said Churchill. He added that it’s vital to listen to feedback from customers.

A “NetPay Lab” was also introduced to further differentiate the business from other service providers. It sees the company work with tech students from around the world on new ideas and developments in order to be innovative, flexible and responsive.

It’s located at the University of Southampton and Churchill explained that the community within the NetPay team has been developed by “sharing ideas, harvesting feedback and continually pushing boundaries”.

He said: “We acknowledge though that to maintain our position as a leader of innovation, our team do not have the exclusivity on great ideas. The Lab has already recruited four post graduates to join our growing development team, who are already making valuable contributions to our existing projects and helping shape the future developments of NetPay.”

The University of Southampton was chosen based on the fact it not only attracts top British students but also those from around the world, prompting Churchill to call them “the best in the world”.

When it comes to standing out from fellow finalists to win over judges, Churchill said: “We feel that we have developed an innovative and unique product that has transformed the way organisations run their business. There is no other card payment service provider in the market that provides merchants with the multi-channel transactional analysis, reporting and customer insight that we give our customers.

“The business has invested a considerable amount of time and money in developing our proposition and our products, much of which was in research and development so we ensure we deliver a market leading proposition but one that can genuinely deliver a positive impact on our customers businesses.”

In order to keep the company’s performance it’s at in 2016, Churchill said the key is “innovation, innovation, innovation”.

“We refuse to stand still and are always striving to find the next challenge that businesses face and create a solution. NetPay is about technology first, to maintain our leading position we have to create market leading services we must not follow and must always lead,” he said.

“The future of NetPay is an exciting one. We have a robust growth plan in place outside of the UK and some brilliant opportunities to expand the capability of our technology.”

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Zen Terrelonge

Zen Terrelonge is the former deputy editor of Real Business. His areas of interest included media, innovation, technology and the digital sector.

Real Business