The future has arrived – in China.

I’m fortunate enough to travel to my Shanghai Mystery Shopping office every 3-4 months.

Since my last trip I noticed that cash just does not exist.

Yes, cash does not exist.

We are starting to feel this in the West thanks to Apple Pay and Google Pay, but it’s gone further.

Many of the staff in my office have not touched money in a year. They use either WeChat (like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger) or AliPay (like PayPal) for all transactions. 

It’s seamless and instant. Consider it Apple Pay or Google Pay on steroids. It’s used for purchases as easily as it’s used to transfer money to a friend.

What does it mean?

When you use cash, you “feel” the purchase and prices are promoted front and centre.  When the purchase is a cold and unemotional beep, the price diminishes in importance.

The coffee shop under our office illustrated the point perfectly.

It looked like a standard trendy Melbourne coffee complete with polished floors and exposed roofing and a sign behind the counter detailing the menu. Although the prices were on display, they were not a big deal.

Time after time customers would enter, order, and then just beep their phone. Like all of us, they want:

Taste, Service and Reliability

The location isn’t even important because they have a constant stream of Deliveroo’s and Uber eats equivalents.

And so two large forces come together.

  1. the move away from price to quality (very pronounced in China)
  2. the removal of cash resistance through technology.

This returns retailers full circle towards service, and the same applies to the West.

No matter what challenges are thrown at customer service through price, technology or culture (more of that later), service remains the cornerstone of success. And the measurement of service remains as important as ever.

#mysteryshopping #customerservice #cx