There’s a potential downside to more partners and end-users with less support and channel resources to help them.
When it comes to delivering quality customer service, bigger isn’t necessarily better. The payments space has experienced a high volume of merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in recent years. While those mergers created gargantuan global payment companies with expansive payment capabilities, in some cases, they resulted in awkward relationships with partners and poor end-user experiences.
Do you still have a partnership after payment companies M&As?
Resellers and agents are often given little notice (if any) that their payments partner is agreeing to a merger or acquisition. That’s unfortunate because you probably spent a great deal of time and effort to choose a payments partner — but without warning, a company that you didn’t select may suddenly be that new partner.
Furthermore, as businesses grow through mergers or acquisitions, so do their sales channels. That means the people you developed relationships with may no longer be in the same roles, so you may not have a single point of contact to help with key accounts, integrations and customizations, and troubleshooting. In fact, instead of calling a dedicated account representative or team, you may soon be calling into a switchboard for a connection to an available tech rather than one who knows you, your industry focus, and your customers.
Large payments companies created by M&A may also have different objectives for their channels than the customer-success-focused partner you had before — and it will be apparent by a lack of investment in channel programs, resources, and bonus programs.
Point of sale (POS) resellers who are merchant services Sales Partners may also find themselves in the awkward position of competing with their own payments partner. In fact, some larger payments companies have acquired POS software companies, startups that developed plugins or value-added services, even hardware — and they or their other partners are selling them to customers in your market.
The impact of payments M&A on end-user customer service.
Payments M&A can also impact your business in other ways. The level of customer service the company provides to end-users may also change. A large payments company with hundreds of thousands of end-users looking to operate more cost-effectively may transition to chatbots, virtual assistants, or call centers to route requests to technicians. The sticking point is that your merchants may be used to personalized service. Before a merger or acquisition, if a payment device malfunctions on a high-volume Friday night, merchants know they can call for help and reach a knowledgeable tech with a minimal wait. They may not be willing to accept waiting on hold now.
Also, remember that prompt, person-to-person service doesn’t only reflect well on the payments company. The partnership decisions you make and the quality of customer service you arrange for your clients are also a reflection of your business.
Rethink your relationships.
In summation, if you’re considering a new partnership with a payments company, you’re probably evaluating their software stack, payment functionality, value-added services, and partner agreements, including margin and bonuses. Those things are all important, of course. However, it’s also worth investigating whether the companies you’re looking at are likely to merge or be acquired in the future.
A smart move is to enter into a partnership with a company committed to its channel instead of a company (of any size) that’s streamlining its staff and cutting costs, rather than investing in its partner programs as a key part of its growth strategy.
To learn more about North American Bancard’s channel program, including new Partner Portal updates, Sales Partner educational resources, training and how-to videos, expanded bonus programs, and monthly and quarterly promotions, visit www.gonab.com!