When it Comes to Vendor Partnerships, You Deserve Personal Service Too
by Karla Wilson
In the current environment of increasing competion from traditional and non-traditional ﬁnancial services providers, community banks continue to leverage their number-one weapon in the ﬁght to win over the competition: knowing their customers better than anyone else in order to provide high-touch personalized service and relevant product recommendations.
Whether driven by face-to-face conversations or facilitated by technology, today’s competitive advantage is all about improving the customer experience. Customer expectations around service are continually being shaped by retail giants like Starbucks, Amazon, Disney and more. Remaining accessible when and where your customers want to do business is a minimum expectation. Don’t you deserve a similar level of service from your vendor partners?
A Reﬂection of Your Bank’s Brand Reputation
Regarding your current merchant services program, think about your payment processing partner. What happens when a new merchant enrolls through your bank? Typically, your vendor sends a terminal, some supporting material and a 1-800 number to call if something goes wrong or they need assistance. As an extension of your bank’s brand, however, clients may look to your bank for tier 1 support or worse, be left with a bad impression if issues aren’t resolved to their satisfaction, leaving the entire banking relationship at risk.
Sure, your staﬀ does their best to alleviate issues and challenges, but wouldn’t working with a partner who had in-depth expertise and was available locally to your bank and your merchants for in-person support be a better solution? After all, installing and supporting credit card terminals isn’t at the heart of your business. How much easier would it be for your staﬀ and your merchants if they had timely access to hands-on support from a local representative? You deserve a partner that eases the pain associated with marketing, sales, implementation and support of card processing and frees you to focus on the core aspects of your business.
Most banks, when faced with searching for a merchant services partner, prioritize cost, potential revenue, breadth of solutions and security, but it’s equally important to gain an in-depth understanding of a vendor’s processes with regard to supporting your staﬀ through marketing, referral handling and sales, as well as your merchants through enrollment, implementation and ongoing support. Does the vendor provide a local representative to meet with your staﬀ and merchants in -person? Does the vendor conduct in-person hands-on training to staﬀ and merchants? At what point does the sales hand-oﬀ occur between the bank and the vendor? Ideally, your merchant services partner should handle everything for you from the time you forward the information for an interested business onward.
There is a time and place for technology-driven remote support—it can save time and expense; however, not at the expense of service quality. Maybe it’s time to expect more out of your vendor partnerships.