With over 15 million businesses across North America accepting credit and debit cards, payment processing is unquestionably one of the most common B2B interactions. And, since nearly 70% of all retail purchases are made with either a credit or debit card, it’s also one of a business’s most important client/vendor relationships.
Effective communication and coordination between businesses waiting for the funds due to them from credit and debit card purchases and the merchants that process, validate and remit those funds is essential.
While payment processors have been aggressively lowering fees and progressively deploying online automation, they still experience around 20% merchant attrition or churn—which costs them over $2.3 billion dollars annually. The industry has recognized that the key to reducing this expensive and frustrating trend is to stop plodding along on the ‘race to zero’ with interchange rates and instead start sprinting towards improving the merchant experience.
Assigning dedicated account managers to ensure effective communications and to provide proactive alerts and rapid response to issues is costly, but viable for larger merchant accounts. However, for every large account, there are 10 or more small businesses that need to be contacted as well. To make matters worse, small business owners have their hands full already; trying to keep up with rapidly changing technology and to compete in today’s challenging marketplace.
Payment processors are learning that they must effectively leverage the two devices that merchants undoubtedly have on their counter—a payment terminal and a phone. They must transform the payment device into a multi-purpose platform that supports not only payments, but other merchant and customer interactions at the point-of-purchase. And they must personalize and be proactive with each customer conversation—without adding to already-expensive call center staff costs.
The combination of quick and easy access to service and support options on payment terminals and automated, personalized voice-based communication via land or mobile lines gives processors the ability to rapidly connect with tens of thousands of merchants. Processors can cost-effectively provide a self-service path to issue resolution and the ability to trigger an engaging, personalized dialogue (and ideally the option to route to a live agent) over the phone when needed.
Whether the objective is to proactively inform merchants about an upcoming event or to quickly respond to a statement question or charge-back related concern, these simple-to-use and universally accessible platforms provide a low-cost/high-impact solution for merchant acquirers to quickly start improving the merchant experience—and improving their profitability!