Top 5 Problems with the Merchant Services IndustryApr 06
The Credit Card Processing industry has several core issues that I believe generate a lot of extra problems for sales agents and merchants. Below I have listed the major issues and their effects on customers and agents as well as what I believe should be done about it.
1. Independent agent model with no ongoing sales training. Our industry uses a model that gives complete freedom to the sales agent in the area of pricing and services offered. With the proper training this allows agents to build their own business and provide the best solution to each individual client. Without training and a detailed explanation of the pricing and services (which is the norm), it leads to poor retention of honest sales people who feel confused and it leads to an easy avenue for dishonest sales people to rip off unsuspecting business owners. At Multi-Merchant Processing we provide comprehensive sales training and a detailed explanation of pricing and services offered to our agents (Hopefully you figured that out already since you are on this website.)
2. Lack of appreciation for and focus on the sales agent. Too many processors treat their independent agents as if they are a step down from an employee. They wrongfully assume that the turn over rate among new agents is so high that they might as well not invest much time in them. Actually it is the other way around. The reason their turn over rate is so high among new agents is that they don’t invest enough time in them. Even with all the agents I have out selling every day, I still personally respond to emails and phone calls from all my agents. I do this because I value each agent. I know what it is like starting out in this business and I know how hard it can be to keep going. I know the frustration of trying to get an answer from a support person who has never been in the field or had to live from one sale to the next. My goal is to create a company that serves sales agents and provides the resources they need to generate new accounts and then provide amazing service to their client base.
3. Agents who lack knowledge and basic business skills. If you are an agent reading this article, how much do you really know about this industry? How do you switch processors for a gas station? What are the new interchange rates from the Durbin Amendment for check cards? How do you install a check reader and pin pad without causing inconvenience to the merchant? What type of terminal do you recommend for a restaurant and why? etc., etc. Agents who get into this industry for the up front money and are looking to profit and run are ruining the reputation of the entire industry. If you are really serious about building a credit card processing business, do your homework, learn the industry and watch your sales, customer satisfaction and residual grow exponentially. I can tell you without hesitation that any agent on my team has no excuse for a lack of knowledge. We have blogs, podcasts, training videos, webinars as well as email and phone support. If you are on my team and feel confused, start looking around on this site and I guarantee you that whatever your question might be, I already answered it in a video or blog post and if I didn’t, email me and I will post a new one!
4. Merchant’s who do not understand basic merchant services or their statement. This is changing very, very quickly and our company is at the forefront of this revolution through our merchant blog, video resources and much more. If you are a merchant reading this blog post you should know the answer to a few simple questions such as, what is your monthly processing volume? What is your effective rate? (Your total fees divided by your total processing volume) What is your transaction fee? Are you on Tier or Interchange Plus pricing? If you do not know the answers to these and other basic questions, it is time you spoke with a knowledgeable sales professional trained by our company. Put a comment below and I will connect you with someone that actually knows what they are talking about. I can’t wait for business owners to be able to look at a proposal from a dishonest rep and say, “I don’t understand everything on this analysis but, I know it is not right because I saw a video or read a blog that told me…” That is my dream!!!
5. Lack of post sale flexibility in pricing and service. It is amazing to me how most processors give an agent complete flexibility when setting up an account but, once the merchant is active they have every procedure and work flow mapped out exactly and they never vary! If your customer support staff doesn’t have at least the same flexibility to save a customer as your sales agents have to make the sale in the first place you are in trouble. Most merchant accounts provide a monthly profit for the processor of $20.00 to $50.00 per month so, it would seem logical that without even blinking the customer support person would be able to process a credit for 2 or 3 months worth of service to save an account but, sadly most of them do not have this flexibility and they must go through layers of red tape to make it happen. At Multi-Merchant Processing we encourage our sales agents to provide the customer support directly to their customers. The sales agent has a direct communication line with the processor and is able to provide a level of flexibility and solutions that the in house employees are not allowed to provide.
I hope you enjoyed my thoughts! I love this industry, I feel that it has excellent opportunities for those who are not afraid to learn and work hard! If I can be of service to you as an agent or as a merchant, post a comment below and let’s start a conversation or send me an email and I will personally respond.