All business owners appreciate good service from their vendors. They expect salespeople to arrive on time for appointments, deliveries to be timely, and equipment repairs to be accomplished quickly and without a hassle. If you have good relationships with your vendors, good service occurs more often than not, and when difficulties do arise, your vendors make whatever arrangements are necessary to solve the problem.
One Special Vendor
Credit card processors occupy a special place in vendor hierarchies. If you own a restaurant, for example, you can run to the grocery store if your delivery truck is late. If your dishwasher breaks, you can let the dishes pile up for the second shift dish washer. If the utility company cuts off the gas for an emergency repair, you probably have some propane-fueled catering burners to use temporarily. But if your credit card terminal goes down, this is a problem because many of your customers do not carry cash or checks. Their lives are financed by plastic, whether it’s debit or credit. If you can’t process the card, you’re done for the day.
The customer service department of your credit card processor is extremely important. You need to be assured that when you need help, the customer service reps are available to help. Check out these potential credit card problems:
If a regular customer’s card is declined, you need to find out why in a hurry. No one likes the embarrassment of being told in front of others that the card did not work. Someone at your card processor needs to help you remedy the situation quickly.
Sometimes creditworthy customers have their credit limits temporarily lowered. If a $10,000 furniture sale is on hold because a customer’s card is declined because it’s over the limit, you need service quickly. A recorded message about high call volume and a 20-minute wait don’t do you any good.
If you believe that a customer is presenting a stolen card, you need quick and reliable advice about how to handle the situation properly. Your processor should have a dedicated line so that calls about possible fraud are answered immediately. If the company doesn’t offer this service, start shopping for a new processor.
That $20,000 sale was great, and it was even better that the “approved” message instantly appeared on your terminal. However, don’t become complacent; you need assurance that such a large sale will not end up lost in the bureaucracy of your processor’s security department, where your money can be frozen for days or even a week. Confirm that your credit card processor has a system whereby you call and make sure your large charge is quickly routed to your bank account. The company needs to understand that you don’t want any NSF (no sufficient funds) surprise because you wrote checks on funds that never made it into your account.
You can find low credit card transaction fees and rates, and you probably can save hundreds of dollars per month if you switch to a more cost-effective processor. Remember, however, that those savings disappear quickly if your credit card processing company isn’t supported by a reliable and readily available customer service team.
About the Author: Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a credit card processing firm offering payment processing solutions. She brings more than 15 years of experience from the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management and marketing to the company and also serves on its Board of Directors.