"I would like to pay with Apple Pay" - Part 2

"I would like to pay with Apple Pay" - Part 2

This post is part of an ongoing series, “I would like to pay with Apple Pay”. If you have not read part 1, it is not required before reading part 2 but it might provide some additional context. 

In part 1, I detail my first experience using Apple Pay at McDonald’s and how it evolved into my new hobby. The experience of rolling through the drive through and informing the cashier “I would like to pay with Apple Pay” became a secondary benefit of getting a tasty meal. 

Continuing this experiment at different times throughout the day and at various locations across three states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan) I experienced a wide variety of outcomes. Ranging from flawless success to mutually awkward failure. 

Below is a sampling of my anecdotal experiment outcomes after stating “I would like to pay with Apple Pay”: 

  • “What is that?” 
  • One cashier requested to scan my phone with barcode scanner. 
  • “Sorry we don't accept that here” 

To these statements, I threw out the scientific method and reacted differently based on my mood... Ok...let’s be real, I was more focused on getting my meal than conducting a precise customer experience experiment. 

To some, I immediately said “nevermind” and pulled out my credit card. 

Others, If there wasn’t a line of cars behind me, I would explain the technology. 

Yet others, I would explain the process, as I had come to understand it, to how drive through cashiers were to handle this form of payment. 

In one instance, I pointed to the window cling saying “Apply Pay like the sign here indicates you accept as a form of payment.”

The last one there is kind of a dick comment but some days you just don’t have it in you to tell someone else, step by step, how to do their job. In each of the last two examples, the cashier had an “aha moment” and then indicated he/she understood and lifted up the NFC card reader. 

Not the only one…
In doing the research for this post, I identified that I was not the only one experiencing troubles in this process. Below are a few of my favorite tweets on the topic. 

In Defense
In defense of McDonald’s (and the cashier staff), the rationale for this less than optimal experience could be numerous… 

Not all locations participate
In the September 2014 press release, Atif Rafiq, Chief Digital Officer, indicated “virtually all” McDonald’s locations were included in the roll out of the technology which accept Apple Pay. Potentially, the McDonald's where I received the statement “we don’t accept that here” was one of the locations which fell outside of “virtually all” or that specific employee was simply not trained appropriately. 

McDonald's App

Myriad of Tools
McDonald's released their own app with mobile-only offers which you can use in the payment process. Potentially there are too many tools for front line employees to manage. I am not throwing a “pity party” for these employees but put yourself in their shoes...

taking an order A, 
entering order A into a system (which I am sure isn’t the most user friendly),
Taking order B,
Entering order B,
interacting with person of order A,
processing payment of order A. 

These complexities in combination with additional coupons and forms of payment options may be one to many things to process. Further training and time to acclimate to the process will allow this to become the “new normal.” 

Awkward McDonald's Apple Pay Acceptance

Awkward acceptance process
As noted in my first experience, there was not a reader within arms reach in the drive through. This begs the question as to why McDonald’s is asking their cashiers to hoist the standard credit card reader out the window. 

Potentially the percentage of payment and overall adoption of the technology does not warrant the investment to implement a more permanent solution. This solution would be outside, easy to reach from your car, and convenient for the cashier. Putting these readers outside exposes them to the elements, potentially something the manufacturer is not prepared to offer. Part of me thinks this can’t be a reason as gas stations have been offering outdoor payment solutions for years. 

To wrap this up, potentially this is the “chicken and egg theory” at work. People will not adopt Apple/Android Pay until it becomes easy and ubiquitous but retailers will not invest in the long term solutions until it becomes justified via user adoption. I have a feeling this method or what it evolves into will prevail. 

If so, flawless execution/experience will be an expectation. A point of parity not differentiation. A fundamental of doing business.

Open Letter - Please Wrap My Car

Open Letter - Please Wrap My Car

"I would like to pay with Apple Pay" - Part 1

"I would like to pay with Apple Pay" - Part 1