Customer Service

By: Bill Fultz, Vice President of Point of Sale for Heartland, a Global Payment’s company

The buzz words of automation, self-service, chatbots, and artificial intelligence are everywhere in the news and social media today. Our customer experience and expectations are quickly being shaped by broader worldwide change. We, including our Merchants, have become socialized to the new normal of business commerce through companies like Amazon, Open Table, and just about every other cloud powered company. We know how to quickly find alternative solutions and companies if we have the slightest friction in our desired experience. The bar is continually being raised with new service choices utilizing modern accessibility.  Complicating the technology reseller’s world further is the next generation of business owners and merchants entering the market that place less value in face to face interactions.  Apps and Google search bars are how they interact with the products and services they want.  However, with all of this great technology, we still hear the age-old woes of poor customer service and lack of reaching a knowledgeable human being when it counts.  The reality is merchants need a blend of technology and local expertise for personal support.

Point of Sale VAR’s are in a great position to leverage technology and provide the necessary human touch that is needed to be successful in the evolving POS world. What are some of the opportunities that exist for POS VAR’s in this new world?

Human touch. 
Surprisingly with all this technology buzzing around in the cloud, you can’t lose focus on the human touch. POS Dealers are in a unique position to offer the proper blend of technology combined with the human expertise that merchants need. By incorporating automated technology with personal service, it can deliver an amazing merchant experience. Ultimately, when done right, this creates a willingness to pay a fair price. Not all customer service needs to be free, but it needs to have value.  A POS Dealer’s value can’t be that a merchant happened to use your website to buy a widget versus your competitors site. 

Stop pushing the button.
An old Saturday Night Live skit has a computer IT guy played by Jimmy Fallon assisting folks by yelling “move!” and then hitting a single key or turning the computer switch on. Customers don’t value this type of service. While it might look good on a speed of servicing stat report It drives labor costs up and creates merchant friction – which is really bad. This is the area where managed service and mobile device management software come to the rescue. If merchants are being interrupted less that’s good for everyone. It frees up your teams to spend time in revenue generation activities and helping merchants in areas where true value is demonstrated. It might mean paying a little more of a premium for technical talent in your Dealership but you can have more customers served by fewer overall resources.    

Education is good for everyone.
Education can’t be an afterthought. Keeping knowledge from your merchants in efforts show value ended as soon as  yellow-pages stopped being a viable answer for marketing success. Education of merchants goes hand in hand with your own staff. This means cultivating a professional team that is equipped to truly help where merchants need it most. The best Dealerships, regardless of software, are able to interact and suggest ideas to customers because they understand their technology solutions and more importantly how to successfully leverage them generating value.  Along with a culture of education don’t forget to bring along empathy. Just like doctors, dealership employees need a good bedside manner to go with the knowledge. If merchants knew it all then your POS Dealership wouldn’t be necessary. Be thankful to connect the dots for your customers.  

Don’t ignore your Dealership’s POS system.
Customers need to have the freedom to engage with you through chat, email, phone or texting. If they want to engage, that’s great! Be cautious about forcing them down a scripted path or red tape. Dealerships need to organize these multiple communication options behind the scenes with a solid CRM — the POS system for a dealership. This is the most important tool a dealership can invest in. There are plenty of solid solutions geared at our industry, and you get what you pay for here.  

Availability of modern technology tools and solid customer support is crucial to be successful in the world of recurring subscriptions. Being able to interact effectively and consistently is the value add for your merchants are willing to pay for that even the smallest dealerships can afford to deliver.

Bill Fultz is the Vice President of Point of Sale for Heartland, a Global Payment’s company. He has extensive experience in the payments and technology industry. A former CEO of a large national dealership that covered 1000’s of clients in retail and hospitality. In 2005, Bill led a transformation of that company into a recurring revenue focus and within two years, over 65% of all revenue was being generated on a recurring basis. Bill attended the University of Baltimore majoring in Computer Science & Criminal Law. During college Bill worked in the hospitality industry managing all facets of the bar/restaurant world. Bill is currently focused on developing cloud product strategies for the retail and hospitality sectors, creating sustainable approaches for resellers to execute recurring revenue focused business models. Recognized as an industry expert, Bill has received many awards and acknowledgement for sales and innovation in both payments and the point of sale markets.