Great Rates Must Go Hand-In-Hand with Great Service

You’re a smart business person. You make decisions every day based on numbers; availability, cost, delivery time, marketability and profit potential.

However, the decision of which credit card processor to pick can be a real challenge. Do you make a decision based on what you perceive to be great rates? Hmmm. There are so many numbers, rates and variables that you may not be able to wrap your head around it all. Then there are all those subjective questions like which salesperson do I trust, how soon do I need to be PCI Compliant, which system will work best with my website, and on and on. It’s just so frustrating and it feels like everything is riding on making the right choice.

Before you make a decision, I want to make sure you consider what I think may be the most important question you should ask:

Which credit card processor will give me the most help when I need it?

If you are in a position to make the decision about which processor to choose, you’re not working eight hours a day; you’re working 10, 12 or 16 hours a day. The last thing you want is to sign with a processor that has a Customer Service Help Desk that is only open from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM Eastern Time or that puts you on hold for 45 minutes every time you call. You can’t afford to spend an hour trying to fix a twenty dollar problem and you can’t afford a long delay in fixing a thousand dollar or even a hundred dollar problem. You need help when you need help. Simple.

Great RatesUnless you’ve been dealing with accepting payment cards for eight or ten years, I can almost guarantee that no matter what processor you choose you’re going to have questions starting the first month. Even if you have been accepting payment cards for years, switching to a new processor may mean different terminology, different-looking statements, maybe different procedures or equipment. You’re going to need help. You’re going to need customer service.

Without a doubt, the most important part of a credit card processor’s customer service is their call desk. If you’re working until midnight or later and your processor has a customer service call desk that shuts down at 10:00 PM and switches to “please leave a message,” it isn’t much help. You have just added hours to the amount of time it is going to take to get your problem resolved.

We’ve all had problems with customer service desks, even in our day-to-day personal lives. You call your cable company or phone provider and you get computer voice, “Press 1 for this, Press 2 for that” – or even worse, the computer voice that says “tell me why you’re calling.” (I hate those.) Then brace yourself for the inter-departmental-transfer shuffle with maybe one or two disconnects, and finally you get the person who says “My name is Andrew” with an accent that is so heavy you can’t really understand him. Maybe you’re stuck with another computer voice that tells you that you are caller number 32 in line and your estimated wait time is 65 minutes but “your call is important to us.” Riiiight.

Now imagine running into one of those horrible customer service situations when your own angry customer is on hold, waiting for you to tell him how his purchase somehow got double billed and maxed out their credit card and wanting to know what you are going to do about it. Or maybe you have a customer standing at your counter, happily waiting (not) to make her purchase while you try desperately to get through to customer service to find out what the error message on your terminal means.

Good customer service doesn’t just mean a good call desk; there are other things to look for. How quickly can you get a terminal replaced if the one you are using becomes defective or broken? What kind of training or informational materials do they have printed or on their website? Will they help you do employee training? What can they do for your business if it gets hacked or suffers a natural disaster? Can they help you improve your data security or become PCI compliant? Do they tell you how to cut down the risk of chargebacks? How do they keep their customers informed about upcoming changes to services or fees?

Hopefully you got references from the credit card processor salespeople you talked to (if you didn’t, go back to the salespeople and ask for them). When you talk to those references, be sure to ask about their customer service Great Ratesexperiences. In general, customer service can never be good enough. People love to talk about bad customer service. Take their complaints with a grain of salt but listen for a pattern between the references. Do they all complain about long waits on hold? Do they all complain about lack of documentation? You may learn a lot.

I’m going to suggest something a little off-beat. In addition to asking your salesperson about what customer service is available, call their Customer Service number at some off hour and ask to speak to the manager. If you get through, tell the manager you are thinking of signing with their company and ask the manager what kinds of customer service they provide. Their reaction to the situation could give you a good idea of what to expect if you do become their customer.

Yes, choosing the “wrong” credit card processor could cost you extra money in rates and fees (as we’ve talked about in prior posts), but choosing one without good customer service could cost you more: money, customers, time out of your personal life, and maybe a bit of your sanity. You want – and you deserve – great customer service AND great rates.

If you plan on being in business a few years from now you no doubt go out of your way to provide good customer service; shouldn’t your payment card processor do the same?

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