By Marcelo Paladini
We've all heard that people prefer to do business with people they like. Even as e-commerce and automated transactions become increasingly common, nothing can top one-on-one interactions as the most effective method of building lasting relationships with your customers.
Consumers prize the convenience of doing business 24/7. But they are much more likely to form loyalties to a particular product or service if they know and trust the person behind the business.
The everyday logistics of managing and running a business - from tracking expenses to replying to chargeback requests to waiting on hold with customer service - can take up much of a merchant's time.
And there are few hours left in the day for the face-to-face selling and relationship building that are crucial to long-term business success.
The solution is simple: Merchants can let technology do the heavy lifting by relying on automated systems to perform the most important, time-consuming tasks.
If your ISO offers a technology package to your clients that is easy-to-use and reliable, they will be eager to transfer their administrative duties to a Web-based program. It will free them up to spend more time on the sales floor, which will drive new business and strengthen customer relationships.
A computer system is not qualified to perform every duty required of a business owner, of course, so it's important to provide prospective merchants with examples of tasks that can be simplified through the effective use of technology.
First and foremost, any merchant using a technology-based reporting system worth the microchips it's imprinted on should be able to efficiently track incoming and outgoing electronic payment transactions.
Processing volume, returns, fraud alerts and transaction reports can be managed and tracked easily. This should require little daily work from the merchant. A good system can simply be turned on at the beginning of the processing day and left alone until it's time to run reports at the end of the evening or week.
Another major money- and time-saver for merchants who use technology is instant chargeback notification.
Under the traditional system, merchants had to constantly monitor the postal mail (or have it monitored if they were ever on vacation) for chargeback notices. Then they must respond quickly to avoid missing the deadline and being assessed with charges.
But technology can instantly notify merchants through a pop-up window or e-mail when a chargeback request comes in, saving time and effort and resulting in more chargeback disputes being resolved in the merchant's favor.
This translates into more money in the bank for the merchant. ISOs should make this a major selling point in their sales pitches.
Even in the most well-run businesses, glitches happen. When merchants without a technological backup have an issue to resolve, they have to deal with it the old-fashioned way.
This can mean time wasted on hold with operators, transfers between departments, and dealing with customer service representatives who aren't authorized to deviate from the script and can't resolve the problem.
But a processor that provides a state-of-the-art tracking system can offer merchants peace of mind that their problems will be resolved quickly and efficiently through automated requests.
Here's how it works: A merchant uses the system to provide a quick description of the problem. It's then automatically routed to the appropriate department and person, who provides an expected time of resolution and requests any additional information needed to solve the problem.
If more time is needed or additional complications arise, the merchant receives instant notification, so he or she is always aware of the status of any requests.
The merchant is also confident that issues are being dealt with by the people most equipped to resolve them.
By selling merchants the ability to track and resolve complaints with a few simple keystrokes and the push of a button, ISOs can provide them the ability to rest easy and focus on making their businesses the best they can be.
Merchants will be grateful that they never have to suffer through the old way of handling disputes again. And ISOs will have won merchant customers who will remain in their portfolios for life.
Many merchants have established ways of doing business and routinely delegate to staff members and employees certain tasks that could easily be accomplished with technology.
It's the ISO's job to convince merchants of the benefits of letting a Web-based system handle the work. If ISOs go to sales meetings armed with the major selling points of such a system, it will be hard for merchants to say no to the benefits of technology.
A Web-based program never calls in sick, makes mathematical errors, or needs to leave at the end of its scheduled shift.
It's on call and on the job 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be counted on to reliably perform its tasks day and night without complaint.
Of course, regular employees are still an essential part of the business process; a computer is only as good as its operator.
But by relying on a computer system to perform the tasks it does best, without fail, merchants can make it an essential part of their business teams. And they can free their employees to do the in-person tasks to which they are best suited.
Every effective manager knows the importance of delegating. By using the right technology system, a business can find the perfect balance between technology and in-person customer relations.
Technology can allow merchants to spend their time in the front of the store, helping customers and driving sales, instead of spending hours in the back room with a pile of receipts.
Find a processor that offers technology you can trust, and you can make technology the cornerstone of your sales pitch - and watch your profits soar.
Marcelo Paladini is the President and Chief Executive Officer for Cynergy Data, a merchant acquirer that distinguishes itself by relying on creativity and technology to maximize service.
Cynergy offers its ISOs: Vimas, cutting edge back-office management software; Vimas Tracking, a ticketing system that makes responses to customers fast, accurate and efficient; Brand Central Station, a Web site of free marketing tools; plus state-of-the-art training, products, services and value-added programs, all designed to take its ISO partners way beyond their competitors. For more information on Cynergy, e-mail Mike Grossman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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