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The Green SheetGreen Sheet

The Green Sheet Online Edition

December 10, 2012 • Issue 12:12:01

Loyalty and the holiday spirit

Much discussion in the payments industry is devoted to how to keep merchants loyal to ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs). But during the holiday season, sales organizations and agents might ask themselves how they can stay loyal to their merchants.

No doubt the holiday shopping season is pressure packed for merchants. But it is also the prime time for retailers to expand their customer base, as shoppers can be won over by great customer service and become loyal customers into the future. ISOs and MLSs can also cement relationships with merchants by demonstrating they can be counted on when merchants need them the most.

During these hectic days, prospective merchant customers are not keen on sales calls, but a quick drop-in by MLSs on merchants already in their portfolios might make for a potent differentiator. Take a quick look around and see how business is doing. If there is time, engage the business owner or clerk about POS issues. Ask how the terminal is functioning, whether enough supplies are on hand, etc.

MLSs can also purchase something at the store, be it an eye-catching knick knack or an item the agent planned to purchase online. By buying gifts from their merchants, MLSs show reciprocal loyalty. Not only are they adding to the merchant's bottom line, they are offering a powerful gesture of allegiance.

Serving those less prosperous

An underperforming merchant might be especially thankful with a drop-in during the holidays. And there is value in focusing on local shops with lower revenues but with good growth potential. Agents can bring their experience and expertise to suggest ways merchants with lackluster sales can increase their results, such as with a loyalty program, cash advance or perhaps a charitable giving solution.

That is what the holiday season is all about: focusing on those less fortunate than ourselves and trying to help improve their lives, or at least their spirits. A few minutes of personal attention, advice and words of encouragement could make the difference for a struggling mom-and-pop shop in resolving to keep its doors open into 2013, turning the financial corner and then rewarding its service provider with loyalty long into the future. end of article

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