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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Lasso merchants with RDC


Industry Update

Interchange under the gun in D.C.

Removing e-merchants from payment data loop

Multiple Web milestones for The Green Sheet

Canada piloting chip and PIN

Association roll call - Part I


Wincor Nixdorf uses ATM muscle

Tracy Kitten


All signs point to RDC

Patti Murphy
The Takoma Group


Street SmartsSM:
Potent presentations

Jason Felts
Advanced Merchant Services

Survey says: Nurture by Q & A

Dale S. Laszig
DSL Direct LLC

The beauty of systematic sales

Biff Matthews
CardWare International

Go vertical, young ISO

Lane Gordon

The brand less traveled

Nancy Drexler
SignaPay Ltd.

Company Profile

DRG Telemarketing Inc.

New Products

Processing simplified for mom-and-pops

PaySimple 2.0
Company: PaySimple

True mobility for on-the-go merchants

MTT 1531/1581
WAY Systems Inc.


Reap small-business rewards



Resource Guide


A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

May 26, 2008  •  Issue 08:05:02

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Survey says: Nurture by Q & A

By Dale S. Laszig

Personal relationships can be difficult. Minor annoyances that invariably crop up between individuals can build up over time. Usually these issues can be diffused if properly dealt with before they reach the boiling point. But if they are not diffused, they can blow up into arguments and fights that, in turn, may lead to more serious outcomes, such as estrangement or even divorce.

A similar dynamic exists between ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) and their merchant clients. Recognizing that the sales rep-merchant relationship is a relationship makes addressing merchant complaints a top priority. But sales reps have to be proactive and recognize small problems before they fester into big issues that may end up with merchants divorcing ISOs and switching to the competition.

Dig for the truth

Just as when you ask your companion how he or she is doing, and the bland response is "Fine," more digging is necessary to find out how your loved one is really doing. Similarly, when asking merchant customers how things are going with the services you provide, sometimes merchants will tell you what they think you want to hear.

To make interactions less stressful, they may keep silent on the minor annoyances associated with your service: Maybe the POS terminal spits out too much receipt paper or there's an irksome misspelling on every receipt - problems that can be easily corrected in a few minutes with a partial download.

These types of minor issues may seem trivial, but if they aren't addressed, they can work themselves into major problems. So you have to get beyond the superficial "nice" answer for the truth of what might really be bothering merchants. Ninety percent of merchant complaints have to do with user interface issues, whether that means virtual, mobile or countertop POS terminals. These payment devices are designed to be user friendly and reliable. But what happens when they are not?

Many merchants pay monthly fees to ensure overnight POS replacement in the event of equipment failure. But even next-day replacements can be costly for a small business owner in terms of lost sales, settlement delays and cash flow issues. So, whether they are too busy to call to complain about something minor or fearful that their old machine may be on its last legs, conducting merchant surveys is a great way to get feedback from clients.

Break out the questions

Surveys get results because they ask questions. Questions are designed to stimulate thought and discussion. Brainstorm at your next sales meeting to come up with a list of question topics. Here are a few ideas:

From these key categories, formulate questions. Here are several sample questions:

Make it fun

To go along with your survey, throw in a prize or raffle for merchants who return their questionnaires before a certain deadline. Or present a clearance sale or limited time offer. If the survey includes a raffle, make sure to publicize the winners, and consider offering a small consolation prize to all who those who didn't win but took the time to answer the survey.

Furthermore, reward all customers who responded with a note of appreciation. And, of course, address any issues or concerns raised in the survey. Remember, as in business as in love, the secret to a sustained and mutually profitable relationship is in asking the right questions.

Dale S. Laszig has a varied background in sales for First Data Corp., Hypercom Corp. and VeriFone. Her dedication to technology, writing and graphic design led to the formation of DSL Direct LLC, a marketing services company geared toward payment professionals. She can be reached at 973-930-0331 or

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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