By Jeff Fortney
Frustration. It's an all too common emotion. We've all felt it. Merchants, too. Frustration starts in various ways. We become frustrated when assembling an item we find a part is missing (especially on Christmas Eve.); when a repair person doesn't show up at a scheduled time; or when something doesn't work as promised – or at all.
A common theme runs through most instances of frustration. They tend to happen when something is either out of our control or doesn't meet promised expectations. Often frustration leads to anger. In our profession, we feel, see and hear this emotion often – mostly in situations that are beyond our control. How many of you have had this (or something similar) happen? A merchant calls screaming that he didn't get his deposit. You promise to research, and you call your processing partner. But the processor doesn't see a batch for the time in question. You call the merchant, who becomes even angrier when you ask if the batch had settled. The merchant says, "You told us this was on auto close, so we didn't have to worry." After further discussion, you discover there had been a power failure during the time of the auto close setting, and the terminal had not batched.
There are many other examples: A POS stops working and can't be fixed without replacing the unit, which won't happen until the next day. A merchant receives a chargeback. And so on. In all cases, merchants make it very clear (often in high volume) that these things happened, and you need to fix them.
What you do at this point may be the difference between retaining or losing the merchant's business. Here are simple steps to take to help reduce and overcome merchants' anger and frustration.
The key in these situations is not always identifying why it happened. The key is to move forward, and if the issue can be fixed, fix it quickly. By acknowledging and tempering the frustration, you greatly increase the odds of retaining the merchant. – whether you're able to resolve the issue or not. Remember, the way in which you handle the situation literally will make you money or cost you money.
Jeff Fortney is senior vice president of business development and partnerships for TouchSuite LLC, a fintech company providing POS systems, payment processing, SEO solutions, working capital and marketing services to small and midsize businesses. A long-time payments industry professional and mentor, Jeff focuses on strengthening and developing corporate partnerships and evaluating new business to drive strategic growth. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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