Wednesday , January 20, 2021

More Straight Talk for ISOs: Maintaining a Relationship during a Crisis

Ross Paup is Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships
Angela Carranza is Manager, Strategic Partnerships

Failure to communicate with customers during a crisis can come at a high cost: lost business, lack of trust, etc. How is First American ensuring customers know they are top of mind in today’s environment?   

Ross: Hard times will always reveal true friends. While COVID-19 has challenged the efforts of many companies in recent months, First American remains true to its reputation and is working proactively with ISO partners to help alleviate the pressure on merchants, wherever possible, through minimization or suspension of fees. We are in this together, and First American’s making every effort to mitigate the pressures of today’s business environment.

Angela: We’re showing top of mind attention by focusing on products that can help our customers protect their livelihoods and that of their merchants. For example, our digital app, 1stPayBlaze, allows fast onboarding to help ISOs sign new merchants and drive revenue. From a merchant-facing perspective, contactless payment solutions, such as SwipeSimple, are enabling merchants to sell in a wide range of environments without touching a credit card or asking customers to touch a payment device. And hosted payment forms are enhancing online payments with the highest level of data security. Customers want to know that they are top of mind, but they also want to know that you ‘get’ what they need—and that you’re willing to find or create the solution to match. That’s the First American difference, and it’s what helps our partners and their merchants to thrive.

Accessibility is key to customer satisfaction, particularly in a technology-driven industry. What is First American doing to maintain its high-touch reputation when business looks different right now? 

Ross:    We are an extremely accessible organization; getting to know both our prospects and our partners on a personal level is a point of pride for First American. As our office-based staff began working remotely, our IT team quickly mobilized resources to avoid any interruption of service to our ISOs and merchants. Our standard communication has been enhanced with video to maintain “face-to-face” interaction, and our relationships remain fully intact, and possibly stronger, as a result of our continued support.

Angela:   While we look forward to the return of trade shows and the business opportunities that come with that, we, like everyone else, have had to get comfortable with interaction in a very different way. We’ve welcomed the virtual component as a chance to show partners what we are really made of. Our accessibility is evident every time we help a partner expand their sales team or grow their merchant portfolio. Each of those takes a series of steps, no matter who you process through. First American’s proving ground is in the positive business outcomes we create for our partners and their organizations.

You know you’re in good hands when the chips are down, and your payment processor does “this” to help your business survive and prepare to once again thrive?   

Ross: There are three things to ask yourself: “Was my processor taking good care of me when everything was “‘normal?’” If so, “Have they maintained that standard during the crisis?” And, “Do they have a plan to help me maximize my opportunities through and after the crisis?” Having the right partner has never been more important as both ISOs and merchants adjust to the ‘new normal’ of driving business in a social distancing environment.

Angela: Your payment processor should have your best interests in mind regardless of the situation; that’s where First American excels. We treat every partner as a part of the family and consider ourselves an extension of their business. We create defined sales strategies to benefit our partners across dozens of industries, provide the tools that make it easy for developers to integrate payments within their software, and offer powerful ecommerce and mobile solutions that help businesses withstand difficult times and thrive for the long-term.

If there is one takeaway your ISO should bring from COVID-19, it’s this… 

Ross: We need to focus on what we can control; how we react to the situation, how we prepare for what is to come. For some of our ISOs, that means diversifying merchant types to be better equipped for the future. For others, it means leveraging technology for themselves and their merchants. Being adaptable and willing to embrace change are the keys to recovering—and prospering—in the post COVID-19 landscape.

Angela: Whether they have reduced  your fees, protected your revenue with contactless solutions or bolstered your online presence, you should be able to name one tangible result your processor has helped your business achieve.

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