The Business sCOOP – How do I get started with merchant services?
Barbara Smith: Hi, I’m Barb Smith from The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod. Joining me today is Rick Falzone from Clover, and this is the Business Scoop. Rick, can you tell me how a small business would get started using your product?
Rick Falzone: Sure, we have to start off by doing a deep dive with the business customer to find out exactly what their needs are, what are they looking for, what do they want the machine or the equipment to do. We have everything from virtual terminals on a computer all the way up to full-scale point-of-sale systems for a restaurant. So, we really have to fit, you know, our solutions with their needs and really kind of angle our conversation based on what their needs are.
Smith: And I certainly understand the importance of having the right equipment, but when it comes to pricing, is it one size fits all?
Falzone: It’s definitely not, and that is a great question. That’s the million dollar question in our industry, where it really depends on a lot of different factors. We have to really understand what’s the industry they are in. Some industries are riskier than others. We need to find out how they’re taking cards. Are they mostly in person? Are they mostly over the phone? Is it a mixture of both? We need to find out how many transactions they do on a monthly basis, what the average dollar volume for each transaction alone. So, it really depends, and we need to find out what all those factors and variables are to make sure the customer is going to pay the lowest rate they possibly can.
Smith: So, what I’m hearing you say, Rick, is that it’s really about each individual customer. It’s customized, both for the equipment and for the pricing.
Smith: So, if someone calls you, and says they’ve got a better price, you really need to sit down and understand what that really means.
Falzone: Absolutely. Most other processors are going to walk in their door and just say, “what’s your rate? I’ll beat your price.” But they can’t do that fully without understanding completely what’s going on at the business.
Smith: So, when we talk about merchant services, you know I get the whole cards and debit cards and type or tap and swipe, but what about the other products that are available right through merchant services to manage your business?
Falzone: There are a couple different things that we can do, specifically through our devices. We do have 500 different apps available to our business services. So, if they are a restaurant, they can have a waitlist app. If they’re a salon, there’s a salon scheduler app. There’s inventory management apps. There’s time cards. There’s a lot of different other ways to help streamline a business outside of just taking the card payments like you said.
Smith: So, that machine becomes your bookkeeper, it becomes your receptionist, it becomes your scheduler, it becomes your inventory, it becomes your accountant. It really does so much more. Is what I’m hearing correct?
Falzone: Yep, and they have access to all these apps based on what their needs are.
Smith: Um, 500 apps sounds overwhelming. Would you recommend certain apps when you have that customization conversation?
Falzone: Certainly. Again all based on the industry types, and we can point them in the right direction. As some of maybe the top two or three apps that there’s a certain industry utilizes.
Smith: Rick, what else would you want to tell me about merchant services that we haven’t covered?
Falzone: I think a lot of it comes down to choosing the correct provider, and I would encourage any small business owner if they’re looking into merchant services talk to your friends, people who own pizza shops know other people who own pizza shops. Who are they utilizing? What are their experiences like? But also I would encourage you to look into your local bank. Who is your bank partnered with? And by doing that, the merchant service provider that’s partnered with the bank is held accountable and then it’s that merchant service provider’s job to strive to provide that same level of service they’re used to getting at their bank. And usually provides discounted pricing as well, so really do your research, ask some questions, and utilize your bank.
Smith: So, you brought up a good comment there around service. Tell me what it looks like. It’s all well and good for me to buy your product, but what does it look like for support once it’s installed?
Falzone: Well, you always have local representation. So, you have the cell phone number of your representative who got you set up and established. You also have the bank that you can reach out and contact. With our devices, we also have a call button that’s 24/7 support. So, if you’re busy making pizzas, making your pastries for your bakery, you can just press a call button on the device and they will contact you so you don’t have to wait on hold to call somebody in the support office.
Smith: Are they able to solve it right on the phone with me?
Falzone: They are. That’s another great feature. With our technology, our tech team can actually remote into our devices, just like on a computer, and they can show you how to fix the problem. Or if they can actually do it themselves. If you’re too busy, they can just remote in find out what the issue is and solve it right there on the spot.
Smith: That’s great. Thank you for joining us, Rick, and thank you for watching us on the Business sCOOP brought to you by The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod.