The merchant services industry, like many industries, begins with technical requirements. You provide your clients with a system that, at its most basic level, lets them process payments for their customers. The problem is that many competitors do this, so you need to offer something more. To really set you apart, focus on providing customer service that keeps your clients confident in your ability and willingness to help.
Technical support often provides most of your interaction with clients after they begin working with you. For this reason, you should train your support staff on more than just troubleshooting. After all, many service providers can offer competent technical support. They know how to fix basic issues, direct clients to the tools they have available, and get back up and running.
Troubleshooting itself, though, can leave clients feeling cold. You aren't just solving problems; you are working with a client in one of the most common interactions you will have. Start with listening skills. An issue with hardware or with a transaction creates stress and frustration. Give the person time to explain; encouraging your clients to share shows that you care. From there, help them fix the issue and find ways to avoid similar problems going forward.
Not Just for Problems
A key mistake processing organizations make is to limit interactions to times when clients report problems. These are usually the most frustrating moments in your clients' work, so all of the conversations can be strained. No matter how kind or understanding you are, this can't help but weigh on the relationship you have. Further, it leaves the client as the one who is always initiating conversations, with you as a passive recipient instead of an active participant.
To avoid this, reach out proactively to your clients over time. Schedule times for a quick conversation about how they are doing, how well their system is working for them, and what you may be able to do to help make their experience better. This accomplishes two goals: First, you gain insight into the daily work that your clients do, and a sense of their experience outside those moments of breakdown. In these conversations, you get the chance to see ways you can not only fix issues but improve the overall relationship.
Second, it positions you not only as a provider who will fix problems when they arise but as a partner in their business. This helps you develop their trust. When problems do arise, the client already knows you care and want to help. Interactions become friendlier, so your staff and your client are more comfortable during both good times and bad.
Every customer service interaction is an opportunity; for your client to work more efficiently, and for you to build a lasting partnership. Put the focus on your customer service activities to set your payment processing business apart from the rest.