Cashless: Key factors for a successful roll out

Cashless: Key factors for a successful roll out
  1. Open-up and get inspi­ra­tion
  2. Hone your com­mu­ni­ca­tion with your audi­ence
  3. Address­ing con­cerns and train­ing the team
  4. Acquire good habits dur­ing the oper­a­tion
  5. Be care­ful of fake sav­ings

1. Open-up and get inspiration

Roll-out of a cash­less pay­ment sys­tem has many mile­stones. Con­sid­er­ing that each event is dif­fer­ent, with its own speci­fici­ties, it is crit­i­cal to get inspi­ra­tion from oth­ers to fuel your reflec­tion and select only the best.

Numer­ous events have now gone cash­less and each one had their own way to do so, depend­ing on the scope, the type of audi­ence, the imple­men­ta­tion, the back­ground, the val­ues of the com­pa­ny, etc. Numer­ous good ideas are there for the tak­ing while oth­ers are to be avoid­ed at all cost.

Net­work­ing, ask­ing col­leagues for their feed­back and advice is the best start to any cash­less project. Event man­agers hav­ing already used a cash­less pay­ment sys­tem are best placed to talk about it.

2. Hone your communication with your audience

As for any impor­tant change, com­mu­ni­ca­tion is key when cash­less pay­ment is imple­ment­ed. The rea­sons must be explained as well as the ben­e­fits and most of all, how it works.

Pub­lic com­mu­ni­ca­tion should ide­al­ly start two months ahead of the event. For your first com­mu­ni­ca­tion on the top­ic, you should pro­vide your audi­ence with an overview of how the sys­tem works: card or wrist­band, acti­va­tion fees or not, online top-up or not, time­line to ask for refunds, even a map of the site with the use­ful areas (info desks, kiosks, bars and restau­rants, NFC part­ner booths, etc.).

You also need to make the audi­ence want to use it by stat­ing the direct ben­e­fits they will enjoy. The peo­ple who top-up online before the event will receive their pre-loaded card or wrist­band at the entrance and will there­fore skip the bank­ing kiosks.

To moti­vate atten­dees to cre­ate a cash­less account ahead of time, it is pos­si­ble to set up an incen­tive. For instance, £5 will be offered to the first 1,000 top-ups. How­ev­er, the argu­ment of reduced wait­ing times is often enough to moti­vate your audi­ence.

The refund process is also a source of con­cern. It is impor­tant to com­mu­ni­cate clear­ly on the refund method from the start. Obvi­ous­ly, this also needs to be sim­ple and quick. If refunds are com­plex (e.g. Manda­to­ry cre­ation of a Pay­Pal account, deposit on third part web­site, very short time­lines, etc.) this will be per­ceived as an obsta­cle.

Final­ly, you should not hes­i­tate to com­mu­ni­cate on the reli­a­bil­i­ty and the safe­ty of the sys­tem. Some atten­dees are con­cerned about theft. You should there­fore explain that it is pos­si­ble to block the cash­less device to avoid a fraud­u­lent use, or that the wrist­band low­ers the risk of loss as com­pared to a bank card, etc.

3. Addressing concerns and training the team

It can hap­pen that some mem­bers of the organ­i­sa­tion are reluc­tant to the intro­duc­tion of a cash­less pay­ment sys­tem, for a vari­ety of rea­sons: fear of new tech­nolo­gies, lack of inter­est, change of work­ing habits, invest­ment per­ceived as unjus­ti­fied, fear for their job, etc.

Actu­al­ly, it is often due to poor knowl­edge and lack of infor­ma­tion. These con­cerns can eas­i­ly be addressed by train­ing your team and explain­ing how the device oper­ates.

Set­ting up sev­er­al train­ing ses­sions ahead of the event is often good prac­tice at all lev­els of the organ­i­sa­tion. Use of point of sale sys­tems is quite sim­ple but it is impor­tant to explain it to the mem­bers of staff so that they are reas­sured ahead of their shift on the day.

In the same way, train­ings must be car­ried out with man­age­ment teams so that they can become famil­iar with the inter­face. That way, your users can ask their ques­tions in a calm envi­ron­ment ahead of time. Do not wait for the day of the event to answer their ques­tions.

It is in fact inter­est­ing to observe that, quite often, detrac­tors become ambas­sadors of the cash­less pay­ment sys­tem after the event.

4. Acquire good habits during the operation

Plan­ning and inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tion are two pil­lars of suc­cess in the imple­men­ta­tion of a cash­less pay­ment sys­tem.

The imple­men­ta­tion of the devices must be real­is­tic and sys­tem­at­ic. Rolling out hun­dreds of devices in a few min­utes is unre­al­is­tic, it is advised to set up a pick-up point (or “store”). Sim­i­lar to the pick-up of walkie-talkies, each team man­ag­er picks up his/her team’s devices and brings them back at the end of each day. This enables account­abil­i­ty of the teams, and to ensure that the devices are on site at the right moment. It also cre­ates a loca­tion where the staff can meet the sys­tem providers in case of con­cerns or ques­tions.

Inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tion is also an impor­tant ele­ment. It is not uncom­mon to edit pro­ce­dure or to slight­ly change the device ini­tial­ly planned ahead of time. For every­thing to go as smooth­ly as pos­si­ble, unit man­agers should auto­mat­i­cal­ly warn the rest of the organ­i­sa­tion of any change. For instance, if the cash­less devices are hand­ed out at the entrance and that for a few min­utes the entrance staff did not hand out NFC devices to atten­dees, the bar staff needs to be made aware as well as the kiosks so that they can react appro­pri­ate­ly.

5. Be careful of fake savings

Sav­ings are often per­ceived as pos­i­tive but be care­ful not to put your­self in a dan­ger­ous posi­tion.

We have seen this before, roll-out of cash­less pay­ment sys­tem implies some indi­rect invest­ment such as the imple­men­ta­tion of a Wi-fi net­work and maybe imple­men­ta­tion of new infra­struc­tures for bank­ing kiosks, and per­haps entrances.

While most cash­less pay­ment providers allow for offline use of their solu­tion, it is often at the expense of the user expe­ri­ence, and doing with­out it can be a poor cal­cu­la­tion at the end of the day. Because with­out Inter­net, there can be no online top-ups or pur­chase track­ing in the event’s app for atten­dees, no sales track­ing in real time for the event man­ag­er, etc. The lack of net­work also means big­ger queues at kiosks, and low­er safe­ty. Over­all, offline the vital func­tions are work­ing but you’re depriv­ing your­self of the best ben­e­fits of cash­less.

The same applies to the size of the kiosks and entrances. Be care­ful not to have too small a vision, espe­cial­ly for a first edi­tion. Sav­ing on a few peo­ple or a few meters of infra­struc­ture at the expense of the user expe­ri­ence is often a bad move and a bad bet for the future.

To go fur­ther and find out more about cash­less sys­tems, down­load our free white paper here.

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