The Green Sheet Online Edition
October 10, 2016 • Issue 16:10:01
VIP treatment for large restaurants, retailers
Allentown, Pa.-based Harbortouch, a national POS systems and merchant services provider, launched the VIP Account program, a service designed to provide enterprise-scale restaurants and retail businesses with a white-glove processing experience. Among its benefits, the program waives upfront POS service fees, provides dedicated support and allows qualified merchants to try the service for 60 days at no charge, the company stated.
Since its inception, Harbortouch has built brand value through enhanced POS services. The company's founder and Chief Executive Officer Jared Isaacman saw a need to expand on core services by targeting high-volume, high-visibility merchant processing. These merchants typically expect more from service providers; Isaacman wanted his sales channel partners to meet and exceed expectations.
"In order to convince a merchant to replace their existing POS system, you have to be able to make an offer they can't refuse," Isaacman said. "Our new VIP program does just that by combining a truly free POS system with white-glove service, custom programming and a free 60-day trial."
Harbortouch Marketing Director Nate Hirshberg added, "We anticipate that a portion of these VIP merchants will require custom programming and integrations, which is why we have added development capabilities internally to better accommodate these specialized requirements. We are now well positioned to support large restaurant and retail locations and chains, so we felt it was the perfect time to launch a program catering to this major account market."
Coveted merchants, customized services
To qualify for this program, merchants must have been in business for more than one year, have prior processing statements showing at least $30,000 per month in credit card processing volume and have an existing POS system.
"We are making it possible for our sales partners to sign some of the most coveted merchants – established, high-volume accounts that are difficult to attain due to their existing POS system," Isaacman said. "Plus, the timing couldn't be better since many businesses with older POS systems are currently facing expensive PCI and EMV upgrades."
Fine dining restaurants, a focal point for the company since it entered the POS market, are a particularly challenging and complicated segment that has required the company to expand its capacity to effectively serve, Isaacman noted.
For example, a family-style Italian restaurant might take four hours to customize, while a 12-location chain would require significantly more effort to reconfigure and integrate core services with a customized POS system. "Every fine dining establishment has its own unique approach to loyalty and requires a great deal of POS system development capability to service," Isaacman added.
Elite lane for merchants, sales partners
The company relied on its experience with high-volume, high-profile restaurateurs and retailers to create its VIP Account program, which assigns specialized resources for boarding, software development, POS integration, relationship management and ongoing support. A VIP qualification form tags incoming VIP applications, which are then routed to VIP program administrators. Even if VIP customers call in to the regular line, they will be recognized and appropriately routed, the company stated.
Harbortouch sales partners also receive VIP support services, which include direct involvement from senior executives on requests for proposals, third-party integrations and a range of concierge services for their customers.
Isaacman said the program is designed to enable acquirers and merchant level salespeople to focus on elite merchant customers they would not otherwise be able to attract. "Email blasts that offer 80 percent splits and $500 upfront bonuses represent a race to the bottom, setting our industry back at least a decade and commoditizing merchant services," he said. "If you don't have the means to get the merchant, bonuses and splits are irrelevant."
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