It has long been said that the customer is always right, especially when it comes to discrepancies within the service industry. Merchant services should be no different. Some merchant services providers have lost the ability to actively manage their merchants, and believe that low costs, and low fees out weight good merchant service and merchant support. This should not be the case. Merchant services providers should be all about servicing their portfolio, whether you have been with them for 6 months or 6 years, there is nothing worst than having a merchant services provider disappear, or provide sub par service when you need to count on them the most.
There is a very consistent stigma when it comes to merchant services providers that they are all same because, to a certain extent, they all provide the same service. In once sense, yes, merchant services provider do provide a similar service which is the ability for your business to accept credit and debit cards, either through an online solution, or through a terminal. But all merchant services providers are very different. And these are 3 reasons why service, should be the differentiator when it comes to choosing, and in fact, staying with a merchant services provider.
1 - ISO vs Large Processor
As I mentioned above, not all merchant services providers are the same, and honestly, there are more differences than similarities when it comes to generalizing about all providers. The key point to take a look at is the type of merchant services provider that you are dealing with. Some merchant services providers are ISO's, independent Sales Organizations that are resellers for the big processors. They are smaller, usually able to provide more customizations to programs, and typically deal with small to mid sized businesses. The large processors deal with the enterprise businesses, the massive locations, chain restaurants etc. They typically do not like to deal with small to mid sized businesses because customization is not their forte. They want to provide a box in one solution that is right for the majority of businesses. When it comes to service, ISO's are typically better at providing customer service and customer support, for the sheer reason that they are smaller and do not have to manage as large of a portfolio.
2 - Helpdesk
To continue with the differences between the ISO's and the large processors when it comes to merchant services providers, helpdesk or support centers also extremely carry in terms of portfolio size. Obviously, the more merchants that a merchant services provider has, the more service representatives they require to manage problems, and troubleshoot technological issues. But when it comes to dealing with a merchant services provider that is extremely large, helpdesk and call center automated processes are typically even more frustrating than the problem the merchant is dealing with at that time. The reason being is that, for the large processors, in order to "better serve you", they require you to jump through a number of hoops in order to get to the right department, and 9 times out of 10, you end up at the wrong department having to be transferred. For the smaller ISO merchant services providers, typically you can deal with a number of people from the business directly. Issues are resolved quickly and thoroughly, and without the need for the maze of telephone stepping-stones.
3 - Merchant Retention
When it comes to service, merchant retention is a big part of it. Merchant services providers that have a large portfolio typically enjoy the fruits of having a pretty large turnover rate, which means that as long as they are contracting more merchants each quarter, or year than they are losing, they remain profitable. For the smaller merchant services providers, merchant retention is very key, and service and support play a major role in that. Whether or not your merchant services provider has the lowest rates, providing top quality service and support to your merchants will show them that you care, and build a relationship with them that will encourage them to stay with you, not for convenience but for loyalty.
When looking for a merchant services provider to being accepting credit and debit cards, or you are looking to switch to a new provider, take into consideration these 3 reasons why service should be at the top of your list.