The Green Sheet Online Edition
August 10, 2020 • Issue 20:08:01
Moving forward through service amid COVID-19 - Part 2
In issue 20:07:02, published July 27, 2020, we posed an initial portion of answers received from members of The Green Sheet Advisory Board to the following questions:
- Given current conditions, how have you planned for and executed a path forward for your company that strikes a balance between fostering safety and economic recovery?
- What have you done to help your merchants/clients conduct business safely as they go through the same process?
- How have you worked with business and/or community partners to achieve the same ends?
- What guiding principles should people in the payments community keep in mind as they work to keep their businesses and the industry strong through this crisis and beyond?
Additional responses will be posted in subsequent issues.We are grateful all who shared their informed perspectives for this series.
Marc Badalucco, Impact Payments Recruiting
- Fortunately, we have all been working remotely for a few years prior to the epidemic. To ensure the safety of our employees, we've encouraged them to take time for themselves as needed and have also banned travel for the remainder of 2020.
- We've worked with local community partners on keeping employees that have been laid off due to COVID engaged on openings, whether within payments or other industries. With more virtual interviews, meetings, etc., we have also worked with business partners on conducting video meetings to help achieve the same result they would get from face-to-face interaction, and reminding everyone to show empathy to one another during these uncertain times. We are all in this together.
- We've offered our help to clients with getting their teams in the right position to remain productive. We've talked to them and held webinars on how employees and leaders can transition to virtual work environments, what metrics can be implemented to keep productivity high, and how to remain in contact with their teams to build morale and, ultimately, keep everyone engaged.
- We all need to evolve and find creative ways to keep afloat. The digital era is more important than ever and companies need to adopt ways to staying engaged with their clients in perhaps ways they never thought of before, or been comfortable with. We need to learn from one another and keep abreast on the market to ensure businesses can adapt accordingly.
Mark Dunn, Field Guide Enterprises
- At FieldGuide we focus on helping ISOs get to the next level. When the shutdown happened in March, it wasn't clear what effect this would have on new and developing ISOs. However, it seems a lot of folks in our industry have been using April, May and June to research, plan and launch new business lines, new services and even a few new ISOs. Our consulting business has actually expanded during this time.
- In February, I had just started volunteering with a charitable group doing immigration counseling with refugees. However, given the pandemic and the government's recent changes in immigration policy, I had to pause this effort for the time being.
- We are not doing any business travel at present. All of our meetings with clients are conference calls: GoToMeeting or Zoom calls or FaceTime. Also, with all of the regional acquiring association meetings canceled, we held the first webinar version of the Field Guide Seminars on Wed., July 29 at 1 p.m. Central.
- I believe it's important to re-examine what's important in your life. Big changes like the pandemic can throw your life out of balance, and you have to reaffirm who you are and what you do. There will always be good opportunities for hard-working, focused people who know how to add value. Whether you're selling or in operations, keep building value into everything you do. Go the extra mile and it will pay off.
Allen Kopelman, Nationwide Payment Systems Inc.
- Right now we're doing a combination of working at home and in the office; everyone pretty much sits in a large area/office alone. We have a shield on the front desk, and we put a shield down the middle of the conference table, as we have had a couple of meetings. We're also using different online meeting tools — internally and for sales.
We've stocked plenty of cleaning products at all the desks so people can keep their areas clean, along with hand sanitizer. If anyone is not feeling well, they are instructed to call in and stay at home — and get tested. I am sure people who work in larger offices with people in cubicles are having larger issues.
I think many companies will re-think office space when this is over and have a combo of people working in the office, people at home, rotating schedule in the office, etc.
- We have kept in touch with clients, offered them virtual terminals, talked to them about ecommerce, how to use the different wallets: Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay. Some were surprised their machine already did that. We saw a small uptick in wallet usage, but that has tailed off. I have seen some businesses that have signs that they won't take cash, which I think is silly. We have ATMs, and many of the locations were closed, but we see plenty of activity at the ATMs. People still like cash.
- We have donated to some food banks, and we will continue our community involvement. We also have a partner company that offers printing, and we have informed clients about all types of social distancing items that are available that are pre-printed, not expensive and can be delivered in just a few days. There are still quite a few places that are not open. Some have opened and then closed for different reasons.
- Just keep working. All we can do is go out and help our clients. One thing is that from state to state, city to city, the situation is quite different. So everyone needs to do what they think is the right thing to help everyone be safe and stay healthy.
I'd also like to add that there is a ton of fraud going on right now and also a lot of merchants trying to get set up selling PPE items. We need to be careful about who we are giving accounts to and what are they selling. Many calls are coming from people who need an account to do a few "deals" or companies selling sanitizer. It's a good thing people are making things in the USA, but they get annoyed when we ask them for samples and labels. Currently, the FTC has sent out warnings to 300-plus companies about advertising of these products, and the FDA has warnings on masks, sanitizers, etc.
Another thing that has been occurring over the last couple of months while COVID-19 has been going on is that a few processors received large fines. It's crazy that someone gets fined $40 million, and that does not make the news. Another ISO had a fine so large they could not pay it, and I am guessing the company is out of business.
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