Customer service is a key component of any business’ success, regardless of industry, target customers, or any other factor. However, not all companies understand why customer service is important, or even prioritize support, whether due to a lack of leadership or training. This can affect customer satisfaction rates, and thus, gross profits, as well as increase turnover rates, as a result of disheartened employees.
When it comes to a complicated field, specifically the merchant services industry, offering exceptional customer service is even more critical, as customers will likely have many questions.
Why Customer Service Matters: Creating Superior Customer Service in the Merchant Services Industry
“Delivering consistently exceptional customer service is important in every industry. In merchant services, it's a differentiator,” explains Sean O’Neil, chief operating officer at Long Island, N.Y.-based credit card processing company MerchantPro Express (MPX).
“Credit card processing is confusing, and the technology is increasingly complex. Customers need their credit card processing to work to ensure cash flow and efficient payment collection,” he continues. “Having an experienced team that can handle just about all issues in one short and professionally friendly call reminds merchant customers that they're in excellent care, and they can get back to doing what they do best—running their business.”
To ensure a company’s customer service department is able to do this, there are two key factors to keep in mind: the people and the culture.
As O’Neil explains, MPX undergoes a thorough selection process to find “customer service professionals who not only understand our industry, but who are committed to consistently delivering exceptional customer experiences to all of our merchant customers—every customer, every single time.”
Still, a business should also keep a close eye on the culture it’s created and perpetuated regarding customer service. Those that do not expect its employees to go above and beyond for their customers will likely do the bare minimum to get by.
O’Neil credits MPX’s support team director Samantha Dawber for shaping “a culture of customer care that new employees can't help but feel or buy into, almost immediately.”
“Our team is compulsive about delivering exceptional experiences to our merchants and agents—who often call in, as well, and whom we consider our ‘customers,’" he explains. "And there is a healthy amount of internal pressure to be part of an efficient and complete resolution to a problem.”
As a result of these high expectations, MPX knows that any customer who needs help reviewing his or her merchant statement or is having troubleshooting issues with point-of-sale equipment, for example, will receive the best possible assistance.
Treating “all merchants as if they are cherished members of MPX's family are all components that make our customer experience so unique and exceptional,” adds O’Neil.
Customers notice. In fact, O’Neil shares that nothing makes him happier than when he receives positive feedback about the MPX customer service team, which happens quite frequently:
“I regularly receive voicemails and emails from grateful merchant customers, who share that our service professionals stayed well past their end of day, to make sure a terminal worked properly, or funds were reconciled, or disputed transactions were handled to their satisfaction.”
O’Neil advises other companies seeking to improve their customer service department to start from the ground up. Dedicate the time and effort to create specific qualities each team member should possess, and standards to live up to, rather than always concentrating on the bottom line.
“There is a tendency in merchant services and other sales industries to focus on sales while discounting the value of service,” he explains. "[However,] you need to commit to building, supporting, and expanding a customer service team. In addition, you need to create an awareness among everyone in the organization—including the salespeople—that your customer service team is as greatly valued as your sales team.”
Doing so will bring these two divisions within an organization together, encouraging collaboration and success, while rejecting poor attitudes:
“When we have salespeople who are new to us acting discourteously to our service team, we intervene immediately, and make clear that we will not tolerate that going forward,” stresses O’Neil.
Tying the service team’s bonus compensation to revenue growth is another way to improve customer service, he adds, as it “helps to align all of our interests.” This way, employees are shown appreciation for all their hard work, and rewarded accordingly—thus, keeping them motivated to continually provide superior customer support, which in turn, keeps customers happy.
MerchantPro Express specializes in providing merchants across various industries premier credit card processing services. Contact us today to find out how we can help you and your business!