The Green Sheet Online Edition
May 14, 2012 • Issue 12:05:01
Go with the tech flow
It is clear technology has brought us a long way from the payments industry's early days of manual "knuckle busters" used to imprint credit card data on receipts at the POS. It's also clear technology will continue to transform the sophisticated electronic payment devices and networks our businesses employ.
That means people who can take advantage of new technology as it becomes available have an advantage over those who resist the changes technological advancements will bring. If you're an early adopter who can't wait for each latest and greatest terminal upgrade or mobile payment scheme, you don't have anything to worry about. But if you feel you're more befuddled than enthralled with each new release, don't give up. You can remedy the situation.
Here are some suggestions:
- Take a class: Many locales have affordable community colleges and adult education programs that offer classes in a variety of subjects, including technology. To accommodate working professionals, many classes are offered nights and weekends. Retail stores, including Apple Inc. and Best Buy Inc., also offer classes to help people make full use of devices they purchase. (Given the focus on using smart phones as payment devices, if you don't own one yet, it's about time you got on board.)
- Use the Internet: Most of us rely on the web to find answers to questions we encounter in the course of a day. The Internet can also be used as a tool for in-depth learning. For example, Khan Academy, www.khanacademy.org, offers video training in a range of subjects, including computer science and cryptography. More pertinent to our industry, ETA University will soon offer an introductory class on technology.
Rely on your vendors: Technology vendors often provide training. Find out what options your vendors offer, and use them. Also, ask your vendors for help. If you need answers or something goes wrong with your merchants' software or hardware, expect your vendor partners to educate you.
- Volunteer: One of the best ways to learn is by doing. So if you want to master a new POS system your ISO is planning to offer merchants, volunteer to help the vendor with installations and troubleshooting before the rollout. Or if you're new to the mobile payments arena, but a nonprofit organization you support wants to use mobile payments at an upcoming event, study the options, and then help the organization select and implement a solution.
- Go to the library: Many of us visited libraries frequently as children but tend to overlook them as adults. They offer books galore, of course. But libraries also have educational DVDs, as well as audio books that may help fill in gaps in your technical knowledge.
- Find a mentor: You may already have a mentor helping you develop as a business leader. Why not find a technology mentor, too? Your mentor should be someone who is not only well versed in technology, but also supportive and capable of teaching. If you can't find someone in your immediate professional circle, put the word out through social media such as LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com).
Technology will continue to evolve. The more you master it, the better you will serve your merchant customers and retain their business for a long time to come.
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