By: Josh Sullivan, Owner of Magnolia Innovative Solutions
One of the most difficult aspects of deploying point of sale solutions, including payment processing, is retaining clients. Often, in our industry, many providers will take a “compete for the bottom” mentality and chase every piece of business – even if the opportunity is not a good fit with their core competencies. And of course, retailers are notoriously price conscious. Retailers that based their decision solely on cost will, in most cases, eventually conclude that their current solution doesn’t fit their needs and begin looking for alternatives. Often times the poor technology fit is blamed on quality of the service providers support. In these cases, everybody loses – the solutions provider loses a customer and recurring revenue stream and the retailer incurs the cost and disruption to change systems – again. In pursuing new long-term business, we must ask ourselves two questions: are we deploying a solution that best fits the clients’ needs and secondly, are we ensuring they receive the best customer service possible?
To improve retention, we must be more concerned with delivering the right solution and less concerned about capturing every dollar of revenue. The first step is truly understanding the retailers needs on the front end. This requires probing questions on our end to fully understand the current requirements and anticipate the future needs of the client. Do they want in-depth inventory? Is a loyalty program important? Do they want more mobility, or is stationary enough? These are just a few questions to begin the customer solution journey. If you find out that the solutions that you offer are not a good fit with the retailer’s requirements – walk away. It’s better to move on to more attractive opportunities. A customer that is unhappy and switches systems before you can recover your upfront costs benefits nobody.
Secondly, offering exceptional customer service is critical for strong customer retention. The most important aspects of great customer service are accessibility and resourcefulness. By accessibility, I mean that we must be available for questions, support, and on-going engagement. This can be a ticketing system like Zendesk, a dedicated support number, online chat, etc. But the key is to be prompt and responsive! Don’t let questions go unanswered for a long period of time.
By resourcefulness, I mean that you must be knowledgeable in your core service offerings. But this does not mean that you need to know everything about anything. It’s usually OK to acknowledge your limited knowledge on many subjects. As service providers in a complex business, it’s unrealistic to expect us to have to have all the answers. However, we must be willing to do the work to find the answers and return the answer in a timely manner. Even while you’re researching, send a simple email that says, “Hi there, I just wanted to let you know we’re still looking into your question. We will have more info shortly.” The key is to stay engaged and follow through on any promises.
I believe by doing these simple things, we can begin to make a huge difference in the point of sale and payment processing industry.