In my early content about cash discounting and surcharge programs, I focused almost exclusively on the amazing opportunity they offer merchant sales professionals. Now most sales reps recognize that opportunity, and the programs have much greater saturation in the market.
I have stated evidence that consumers have taken very little notice of changes in price. I certainly stand by that to a point.
However, now that the market saturation is higher, the percentage of consumer complaints and comments will also be on the rise.
This is the time to deal correctly with the issue. With proper education of business owners and employees, cash discounting and surcharging will continue to offer great long-term opportunities in our industry.
As a general rule, within the first thirty days of implementing the program, 1% to 3% of transactions will get complaints or comments from consumers. After the first thirty days, that percentage usually settles to 1% or less.
Thus, if a business does 1,000 transactions per month, there might be as many as 30 complaints (3%) during that first month. That translates to one every day! The actual impact is probably not great, but the bad feeling of receiving complaints every day is significant to business owners.
There is a crucial concept which merchant sales agents must relay to business owners. Take these three steps to get ahead of this issue of customer complaints. Without this correct response, you may have business owners returning to traditional processing quickly.
#1. Set the expectation of business owners.
Yes, you need to close the sale with a positive approach, etc. However, once you get “yes,” you MUST slow down. This is not like traditional processing. Business owners need to be prepared about what to expect.
Explain the numbers. If the merchant processes 500 transactions per month, the owner should expect about fifteen complaints or comments in the first month. That would translate to one every other day on average. However, usually there’ll be days with no complaints and other days with 3-4 complaints. To hear 3-4 good customers complain in one day is distressing to an unsuspecting owner!
Explain this is not an indication that the business will lose fifteen customers by any stretch. The owner should simply be ready to explain the situation to customers correctly. A correct explanation will strengthen the relationship with customers. They’ll feel better about the business and practices.
#2. Get the business owners on board to exactly what they’re doing.
Implementing cash discounting or surcharging programs is not only a great option for business owners. The primary focus of a business owner will be the chance to eliminate processing fees. However, these programs are also best for the business’ customers. Business owners must realize the concept that there is great benefit for both sides.
Convince business owners that cash discounting and surcharging are in the best interest of their customers, too. The cost of processing will continually rise yearly; the interchange fees are going up. Increasing costs to business owners will lead to price increases in businesses. The customers will benefit if business owners implement cash discounting or surcharging programs rather than raising prices across the board. Assure business owners they are making the best choice for their customers.
Unlike the electric bill or rent, processing costs only impact certain customers because of their choices. Owners should understand this explanation and convey it to customers who ask. The decision to take advantage of alternate programs ensures those paying with cash still get a lower price. The price increase only applies to customers who choose to use cards for payment.
I can’t over-emphasize the importance of this concept for your clients. Business owners must know they aren’t trying to trick customers. These programs ARE in the best interest of their customers, too.
#3. Educate employees and provide marketing material.
Business owners must train employees how to answer customer complaints and comments. Provide a marketing piece at the counter explaining the benefits of alternate programs. Have something nicely printed on card stock that employees can hand to customers when needed.
CCSalesPro is creating a marketing piece which will be posted for our Facebook group soon. The group is free, so find us on Facebook if you’re interested.
I strongly encourage you to carefully consider today’s episode. This information is a crucial concept for the continued success of cash discounting and surcharging. Addressing the complaints and questions of consumers correctly is vital.
Be prepared! Get ahead of the problem!