Out all the difficult, time consuming requirements of merchant POS maintenance, device updates rank near the top of the list. Keeping your merchants in compliance is absolutely essential, but it’s often easier said than done. However, by thinking through the process and considering your options, conversion projects can go quite smoothly. Keep these 4 priorities in mind:
1. Gain Cooperation
Reasons for conversions can vary, from something as simple as a switch to a new processing platform to an entire device upgrade. In any case, your first hurdle is the toughest: convincing the merchant that it has to be done. Merchants are no different than the rest of us – when faced with technical jargon and the potential of time wasted, we all tune out. But if you take the time to reach out to your merchants with simple, clear explanations, you’ll receive much less pushback. Tell your merchants why their updates will help them in the long run. With the right communication, your merchants will view you as an ally, instead of as a hassle.
2. Consider Merchant Priorities
For the conversion process to go as smoothly as possible, consider your merchants’ priorities. Merchants don’t care about file downloads or processing platforms. Their top priority is to keep equipment online during business hours. When managing conversions, device downtime must be minimized. By offering after hours support, you can accomplish your updates while keeping merchants operational. It’s the best way to reduce frustration with the process.
3. Choose the Method
Today, most conversions are handled over phone lines or internet connection. While these connections certainly get the job done, they can be slow. However, over-the-air terminal connections are increasing in popularity. With these terminals, conversions are as easy as instructing a merchant to turn off and restart their device. File updates are nearly instantaneous, and much easier than walking merchants through a step by step process over the phone. When looking at merchant equipment, consider manufacturers that offer over-the-air downloads, such as Pax and Exadigm. As time passes, we expect to see more and more devices moving to wireless connectivity, which is great news for merchant management.
4. Consider the Implementation
For payment service providers, conversions are time consuming, expensive and labor intensive. They tend to require repeated outreach efforts, tying up resources that you could better spend on new merchant acquisition and other aspects of your core competency. For these reasons, many PSPs choose to outsource conversions.
Whether you contract directly with a processing platform, or look to a third party such as CDE Solutions to handle the project for you, make sure your partner offers a help desk with after hours support. Your partner should have experience managing highly secure, encrypted data requirements. Comprehensive project reporting and a dedicated account management team are also a must.
In managing your merchant base, conversions and updates will always be necessary. Fortunately, with today’s technology, they’re becoming easier than ever. By focusing on customer service, considering your merchants’ priorities, and choosing the right method of implementation, you’ll be able to take conversion projects in stride.