3 secrets to getting the best credit card processing for your business
When you started your business, you had a plan that likely covered all the major aspects of starting a business—from deciding on a name, to incorporating documents, website building, marketing plan, and on-and-on. One discrete line item to check-off probably included acceptance of credit cards and payments. While it’s often seen as a “necessary evil” in operating a business, payments acceptance, and credit card processing for business, can become a top-line booster as your business starts and grows. That happens when you know what to look for—to find the secrets every small business should know.
Payment acceptance not always top of mind
But what If your business credit card processing is working just fine already? Do you really need to think about additional opportunities to make money? Amazon chief Jeff Bezos has said “If you decide that you’re going to do only the things you know are going to work, you’re going to leave a lot of opportunity on the table”. Sure, Jeff wasn’t talking about your merchant account or your credit card processing. But think about it. While what you know may be working just fine, it’s what you don’t know (or don’t think about) that can make a single effort worth all the more. And, it’s not just about your small business making more money. It’s about how you serve customers or what you can do to serve them better.
Most small business owners don’t think of their payment processor as someone who can bring value to the business. Don’t stop short, only tackling the pieces of your business you are most comfortable with. Having conversations outside of your comfort zone will open up opportunities and give your business that extra edge. (Stay tuned for the biggest secret at the end of this article.)
Considerations with merchant accounts
You may have payment processing under control but even business experts continue to look for new and innovative opportunities to tap into their payments for additional growth. Let’s look at 3 secret ways to look at merchant services that can help make your small business mighty.
- Monitoring online reputation through available tools: Your business reputation is vital and it’s ‘out there’ more than ever. 84 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. While consumers are perusing reviews to make buying decisions, it’s important for small business owners to know what those reviews say. Ask your merchant account provider to tell you about the tools they have available to help you. Understanding what’s out there is also a PR best practice that will help you meet customer needs and manage your reputation.
- Using data to grow your business: Did you know 77 percent of small businesses don’t have a plan for how to use data? Opportunity exists for businesses that tap into analytics and reporting tools that often come with their merchant account. You may need to think about having your smartest staffer analyze the data because the value isn’t in just having the data, it’s knowing what to do with it. Some tools can even help you know what to do with the data you have. In the meantime, check out a tool that is easy to navigate.
- Partnering with your merchant services provider. Partners are absolutely vital to small business owners. They provide inspiration and business services that you couldn’t succeed without. Yup! Your payments provider should be among them. When it comes to payment processing for your business, having a partner, and not just another vendor, is something you shouldn’t overlook. Businesses that look at their processor as only a vendor collecting fees, are missing out on an opportunity to leverage the rich information that can be used to grow business. Consider the information your credit card processor collects. It contains rich knowledge of shoppers, their shopping behavior and trends, and a wealth of intelligence about the credit and debit cards used to make purchases. Your merchant service provider should have tools that will help you tap into that knowledge and turn it into an executable business or marketing plan that can benefit your business.
Is there more to consider in credit and debit card processing?
The 3 tips discussed above are just the beginning. There are comprehensive packages for businesses that will address credit card processing needs, card payment security, loyalty offerings, analytics and more. Starting with the basics with the addition of one or two additional value adds is a great place to begin without breaking the budget.
What does data have to do with payment processing?
You want to know a secret? Leveraging the data behind the payments is the path to be a pioneer in whatever industry your business specializes in, no matter the size. Returning to Mr. Jeff Bezos for a minute. He’s also shared this nugget: “If you’re competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering”.
Being customer focused is exactly what understanding shopping behavior is all about. Data helps you get at what’s motivating your customers. When a business can take the shopping trends provided by their credit card processor and turn them into plans that increase revenue, that’s truly a pioneering move.
If this article whets your appetite on motivations from a business genius, you can find more here. But before you are further inspired, talk to a payments expert so your business can move from memorable to mighty.