Fintech Meetup 2023: Aevi x OvationCXM Interview
During the Fintech Meetup 2023, the FF News team had the opportunity to interview Alex Benjamin, Head of Global Business Development at Aevi, and Guiseppi Marzelli, Co-Founder of OvationCXM. Recently, Aevi teamed up with OvationCXM, a global leader in customer experience management, to enhance the digital payments experience in North America.
During this Aevi x OvationCXM Interview, the pair discuss their partnership, as well as shedding some light on the North American market.
Fintech Finance: Hello and welcome. Can you please introduce yourself and your company?
Alex: So, my name is Alex Benjamin, I’m head of Business Development at Aevi, and we specialize in card present payments infrastructure for PSPs, FinTechs, acquirers, and global banks all around the world.
Fintech Finance: And your work working together with Ovation CXM, tell me about that.
Alex: Yeah, so for one, we chose Ovation because they’re a great partner to work with, but two, really, they’re a software centric customer service and support company. And we chose them simply to reduce the operational burden of our customers, kind of engaging with our solutions and deploying them out in the market.
Fintech Finance: And can you expand on why there is a need for your service for businesses in North America?
Alex: Yeah, so in the general payments landscape, it’s fairly competitive. There’s always different solutions and competing factors. And at Aevi, we really focus on the software and the technology to kind of deliver next generation in person payments experiences. And so our focus is sell the software and let our customers not have to have the operational structure to support the back end of our solutions and services. And so we really think the match with Ovation has made the partnership pretty compelling and allowed our customers to reduce the friction and get to market in a much quicker way when we have a back end servicing partner to kind of support our products and services.
Fintech Finance: And tell us about how you’re expanding here in North America in particular, and the opportunities that you’re seeing.
Alex: Yeah, so we see a lot of opportunities in this space, mostly with the FinTechs, the payfax, the ecommerce, companies looking to build a card present. The reality of the payments landscape is that you need a 360 degree view of your transactions. And Aevi specializes just the in person payments aspect. So we see the opportunity of small businesses looking for new experiences, value added services. And at Aevi, our platform actually powers all these different solutions in the market.
Fintech Finance: And looking ahead, what trends do you foresee in the payment space, let’s say in five years from now?
Alex: Yeah, so I see payments integrating very closely with banking services, embedded finance, payfax becoming sort of table stakes. Right. And so at Aevi, we have tools and solutions to make sure that the end to end customer experience actually reflects kind of these merchant propositions out in the market. And one thing specifically that we like to focus on is our API onboarding tool that allows our customers to seamlessly board their terminals into the back office. All through automation, there’s no longer kind of the middleman in between for data entry. We can consume the CRM directly with the Ovation partnership and provision terminals so they can deliver seamless customer experiences. And within those customer experiences, there’s different software stacks. Right. And those software stacks can have value added products like finance solutions, banking products, loyalty solutions, POS, whatever it may be. So as the payments landscape evolves, merchants are going to be looking for value added offerings. And that’s really where AB Sweet Spot is to deliver these value added offerings through our Smart Pause platform.
Fintech Finance: And do you feel like customers and small and medium sized businesses are really embracing fintech and innovation and integrating it as part of their day to day life?
Alex: Yeah, I mean, the reality is, small businesses, they’re good at what they do, which is running their business, and they don’t often know how software can enhance their business. So I think there’s a shift in gravitating towards the software side of the business. I think it’s really important to keep things simple. I think it’s really important to be consultative with these small businesses and help them understand where the efficiencies come into play. And so with Aevi, we like to provide that fundamental layer for these small businesses to provide kind of enhanced propositions and run their businesses.
Fintech Finance: Hello. Welcome. Can you please introduce yourself and your company?
Giuseppe: Yeah, absolutely. So I am Giuseppe Marzelli. I am the co founder and head of BD at Ovation CXM. And so we are a customer journey building tool for banks, fintech, leaders, payment companies. We help them build customer experiences and making it obviously more customer centric as it is in today’s very competitive world as they’re going up against a lot of big brands like Square Plaid, Brex, all these companies that are always focused on the customer experience.
Fintech Finance: And tell us why the customer experience is so crucial for banks and FinTechs and businesses in general.
Giuseppe: Yeah, absolutely. I feel like that they’ve always had kind of this clunky, traditional experience that you call in, you get bounced around, you play ping pong, trying to find really your resolution, and you’re always being passed. And everyone’s been through that experience as a consumer, and even in today’s world, we just saw with community banks, right, you could walk out of this room and start a new bank account in minutes, right? You could download one of the apps and just join. And it’s so easy for you to move around as a customer that merchants are having that same flexibility. So if you don’t drive a great experience from the beginning, if you don’t give them a great boarding activation and servicing experience, it’s easy for them to move. And so I think that’s why today you really got to focus on that experience and make sure that you’re doing all the fundamentals to make sure it goes well.
Fintech Finance: And are businesses in North America waking up to that and taking it seriously, as they should?
Giuseppe: I think they are. I think obviously with what we just saw in the recent news, I think more than ever, a lot of our companies are taking time to really invest in that CX experience and making sure, again, it’s not just a good support experience or it’s not just a good sales experience. It’s a good onboarding and activation experience. And that has been, it seems, in North America forgotten for a good amount of time. So now that a lot of these FinTech leaders are taking charge and they’re creating those great experiences, everyone feels that the competitions, it’s breathing over their back and they got to obviously enhance their experience.
Fintech Finance: And in a nutshell, what makes a good customer experience?
Giuseppe: I think the journey building is obviously the biggest piece. And a journey can be anything from once I signed up, actually, once I enter the hotel and they text me right away. And Ms. Marcelli, thank you for staying at the Hyatt. How’s your stay so far? That feels good, right? That feels good to the customer because you’re paying for something they’re engaged and it’s not displacing human touch. You can use AI just to make it so it’s really easy to interact and share your feedback. Of course, if I needed someone, they could say, let us know if we can help. You can start chatting with someone right away. We see that on the consumer side all the time, so why not on the merchant side, right? Merchants are always they’re ordering hardware, they’re signing up for new products with banks. Why not give them that same experience so that when they sign up, they feel good? They get through this customer journey of automation, but also feeling like someone is available and knows their profile, knows who they are, and knows that they can speak to them and obviously give them great answers.
Fintech Finance: And is there anything exciting for your company that’s in the pipeline they would like people to know about? Projects, partnerships, collaboration?
Giuseppe: Yeah, absolutely. So we’re working with Aevi right now, which is great. They’re a global leader for their smart terminal, so just excited to work with them across borders and help them enhance the experience. I also found that we just released in recent news ChatGPT, which is a big piece of what we’re doing in our Ovation CXM platform. And so that’s just allowing, again, our partners to utilize AI tools to help guide the customer journey. But again, not displace human touch. So it’s that kind of mixture of make everybody feel warm and fuzzy, that they have easy guidance, they have an easy visual of how to get point A to point B, but also making sure that people are available to help them in case they get stuck.
Fintech Finance: Very exciting conversation topic ChatGPT. Can you just expand on that and how you think that will transform the financial industry?
Giuseppe: I think it goes back to the merchant. Merchants have they’re in a very complex ecosystem. They have so many different products and even with their point of sale, they might have their ISP software, but they have a payment provider and then a bank that they’re using as well for their deposits and maybe a loyalty program right there. It’s already a little chaotic for them. They are good at making pizza, they’re good at making sandwich. They don’t want to focus on that. So when a problem occurs, using ChatGPT to really identify what the problem is and make sure that that question is going to the right team or the right person at the right time. Therefore, you don’t have to call into an 800 number, be bounced around, and everyone trying to figure out who you are, what company you’re supposed to be talking with when an issue happens. If I sell you a point of sale system or a payment terminal and my company sells that to you, you’re going to want to call my company and make sure that we are handling that right. So ChatGPT is going to help both the merchant on the front end make sure that they’re getting to the right team, but also help the customer experience agent make sure that they’re also directing the person to the right team at the right time.