Very few press releases get read twice here on BillingViews Boulevard. In fact, it would be true to say that most are scanned with a finger hovering, dagger like, over the ‘delete’ key.
Imagine the scene, when this popped into the mailbox:
‘The Vatican introduces a high tech approach to confession, placing smartphones in confessionals which connect to the Vatican Confessional Call Centre where priests hear confessions and accept monetary contributions to the church, paid by credit card, PayPal and even SinCards. This is a huge success in Europe and North America.’
Frankly, on the second reading it was even more fascinating.
Then, of course, we realized it was not actually a press release, but the introduction to a new novel by someone called Charles Brett, entitled The HolyPhone Confessional Crisis.
We nearly ordered one.
Strangely, although the book – ‘a cross between Po Bronson and Dan Brown’ – hinges on a pretty obvious plot, it provides an interesting angle on the new sexy bit of billing – payments.
The other day we pondered why everyone was rushing for the payments space, and concluded that it is now the critical customer contact point (billing no longer has that privilege). The aim of every company that wants to make its customers happy (which should equate to every company) needs to make the contact easy, pleasant and seamless. It also needs to reward loyalty – properly.
The story of Holyphones and payments only serves to highlight how big that one opportunity would be. Making confessions easy and payment easier, is a radical but relevant example.
Payments processing attracts anywhere between one and three percent – more depending on market, competition and whether you are called Apple or Google. So, with an estimated 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world, let us say that 10 percent decide to confess via phone. 120 million multiplied by, say, two percent of $10 a month.
Now that is a business model!
Now, if you will excuse us, we will go and see if we can get a trademark on a SinCard.