Checking out payment systems? 5 easy-to-follow pieces of advice.
Chris Hamilton is not in the tech business, but he understands that it takes a solid technology foundation to be successful. As the owner of WJ Doyle Wine and Spirits located in Durango, Colorado, Hamilton’s expertise lies in fine wines and spirits. He feels confident about guiding his customers to the right products, but when it comes to payment systems, he’s looking for a little help.
"I have to rely on the experts,” said Hamilton, who notes that business owners like himself don’t have the time to learn the technology behind payments, and have to turn to others with the knowledge and experience to help.
Keith McCluskey, CEO of McCluskey Chevrolet in Cincinnati, Ohio, agrees.
“The goals of our company are to become the #1 volume Chevrolet dealer in the country,” said McCluskey. To do so, his company sought a proactive payments technology partner that offered an array of services including support for the company’s mobile app.
How did these two businesses find the right payment system? Here are five things we can learn from their experience.
1. Rely on experts
Although a card transaction seems simple enough, payment processing is complicated. There are a lot of moving pieces, and merchants have more decisions to make than they may first realize.
For example, what type of hardware and software is needed? Will customers be paying online or using a mobile device? Will the system facilitate recurring billing and customer loyalty programs? How are online, in-store, and mobile payment systems integrated?
These are just a few of the technology related questions that can come up when choosing a credit card payment solution. It can be challenging to understand the ins and outs, and pros and cons of all the available choices—which is why it’s important to find a payments expert you can rely on.
2. Seek a proactive payments partner.
It’s common for a business to not know exactly what type of systems are needed to make financial transactions. A proactive payments partner will evaluate all areas of a business to determine what will work best. The types of products and services being sold, how sales are transacted (instore, online, remotely, etc.), and customer demographics, are all factors.
A proactive partner will suggest other possibilities, too. International payments and subscription services are just a couple of options. Be sure to look for a partner that can design a payment solution to meet current business needs and pinpoint potential areas for future growth.
3. Make credit card security a priority.
Payment security is nothing to take for granted, and there are a lot of moving pieces. Business owners not only have to be concerned with protecting sensitive cardholder data, they have to adhere to industry mandates that add another layer of complexity.
With a significant number of data breaches targeting small and medium sized businesses, payment security must be a number one priority for every merchant that accepts card payments. The good news is that business owners don’t have to do it on their own. Many payment providers offer PCI assistance programs and systems that have built in security technology like tokenization.
Tokenization is critical for businesses like WJ Doyle Wine and Spirits, which make customer deliveries on a regular basis. “Tokenization makes deliveries far easier,” said owner Chris Hamilton. “It makes it absolutely secure. We never have to worry about customers’ information getting stolen.”
4. Don’t settle for less than first-rate customer service.
Customer service should be a given, but support offerings vary widely and can be specific to the systems being used. So it’s important to find out from the get-go about the support offerings available—is support offered 24/7? Does it cost anything? Is it accessible via phone, email, chat?
Hamilton explains that customer service was a differentiating point in his choice of provider. “You call them up, you get a real person. The person you’re talking to is invariably pleasant. If there’s a problem, it’s made right and it’s made right quickly.”
5. Look for solutions that drive additional revenue.
It might not seem obvious at first, but payment processing systems provide many opportunities for businesses to drive revenue. Built-in loyalty programs, for example, can help attract new customers and retain current ones. Payment solutions can also be used to encourage upselling with built-in features that suggest additional items based on what the customer is purchasing.
Payment solutions like the one WJ Doyle Wine and Spirits use prompt tip amounts, which make it possible for employees to earn more money in an industry that typically don’t accept tips.
“All of a sudden, my people are getting paid more and it’s not coming out of my pocket,” said Hamilton. “It’s coming out of the pockets of grateful customers who are happy they got the level of service they got.”
Finding the right card payment system for your business can take some time and effort. Whether you’re selling wine or cars, or something else altogether, following the five tips above will help make the process of easier.