I don’t doubt there is anyone out there deliberately trying to provide bad customer service. We know that without our customers we wouldn’t be in business. Pleasing them 100% of the time is aspirational but by paying close attention to their needs you can get close. I get caught up and really frustrated when I read bad reviews posted on the Better Business Bureau or on online review sites such as Google, SiteJabber, Trustpilot and others. The issue is that the reviews are not created by our merchants but by their customers who have used our payment platform. We all know how customers use these sites to express their displeasure instead of sharing what a great job a company is doing. Customers just expect good service and when it’s not provided, they find every way possible to share their discontent, especially online and via social media. Poor customer service results in increased complaints, refunds, chargebacks, lost sales, and brand damage. So how can we, as an industry, improve providing good customer support? This month we tapped into our customer service team to uncover some tips to improve your ratings, keep watchful regulators off your back, and keep your customer happy. Remember a happy customer is a retained customer, and it is easier to retain a customer than gain a new one.
Gaining Confidence Through Best Practices
Customer confidence in payment services is extremely important for merchant conversion rates and repeat purchases. Without customer trust, there is no reason for a merchant to use a payment service provider. Customer service teams around the globe do their best to respond to complaints by customers. We often see them in our call center focused on four main topics: no recollection of the charge- meaning that they don’t remember what they purchased, the customer is not aware they’d be rebilled, the customer believed they canceled, and that they were unhappy with the content or with what they purchased.
All payment facilitators do their best to provide good customer support. Most make it easy for customers to contact their provider via online web portals, through 24×7 customer support access, and making sure their customers are aware of the terms of service. This happens by noting those terms in the check out and purchase confirmation pages and in the receipt process. Keep in mind that if a customer does not get support, this often results in a chargeback.
Customer Protection and Regulations
Like most payment processors, Segpay is regulated in the UK and EU to service merchants located in the UK and Europe and both regulators pay close attention to customer protection practices. With our current challenging economic times, regulators are watching even more closely. The UK Financial Authority (FCA) recently announced a new customer duty which will fundamentally improve how businesses service customers. The key principals of the FCA include good communication with customers, making it easier for customers to cancel or switch products, providing helpful and accessible customer support, and providing clear information that people can understand about the products and services. The Central Bank of Ireland (CBOI) also issued a similar letter last November highlighting the importance of taking care of and protecting customers in the changing economic landscape. Protection includes providing clear and transparent information in a timely manner to customers, disclosing key information upfront like risks and benefits, fees, and costs. Businesses should support customers in making fully informed decisions by ensuring that information is provided in a way that can be easily understood. Statements of suitability and other disclosures provided to customers should be fully compliant with legislative requirements. Businesses should also disclose exclusions to financial products in an effective manner at the outset to support customers in making good decisions. Lastly, businesses should ensure that disclosure is as clear on digital media as with more traditional communication channels. Any indication to the regulators that a business is not taking care of customers could lead to bad reputational damage, such as a regulatory review, issued fines, or potentially loss of license.
Home Turf Rules
In the U.S., customers are protected by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection stops unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent business practices by collating reports from customers and conducting investigations- suing companies and people that break the law, developing rules to maintain a fair marketplace, and educating customers and businesses about their rights. As we’ve seen many times, FTC concerns can turn into new card brand regulations that we must manage to. One example that we as an industry have had to address was aggressive cross sales merchants, a group of merchants that were hiding cross sales and charging for undisclosed purchases. The FTC sued these merchants, levied them fines, and shut them down. The activity of a few rogue merchants helped to create additional chargeback regulations because the hidden cross sale merchants increased the fraud entering the banking system. As an entire industry we had to step up our game to control fraud to meet lower chargeback thresholds. Today any cross sales must be clearly disclosed at the time of signup and the customer is provided receipts. This method has flourished in our ecosystem and there is good money for both merchants that are cross marketing.
The overzealous Nutra Market also caused our industry to suffer consequences through their free trials. Oftentimes they would rebill customers before they even received their free trial or worse, they rebilled them without it being disclosed. The activity pushed card brands to implement notification regulations on free trials and future rebills. For example, if the rebill occurs seven days after a free trial ends or a rebill extends outside of six months, the customer must be notified prior to the rebill.
Seven Steps to Success
So, what can we do to help take care of our customers and stop new regulations from coming into play? We wanted to offer our best seven steps to success:
- Provide great customer support. Make it easy, fast, and free for a customer to get in touch with you to resolve issues and address billing concerns.
- Provide good disclosures that clearly state what the customer is purchasing.
- If you are upselling or cross selling, make it clear to the customer what the details are of the additional purchase.
- Don’t make it difficult for the customer to cancel. Share the information on the receipt process. Many merchants have a cancel option on their sites as well. The visibility makes customers happy. You don’t want to be that merchant that has it buried on your site where the customer can’t find it. If so, expect more chargebacks!
- Take advantage of the fraud alert systems from Verifi and Ethoca. Merchants using these services can immediately refund a transaction before it turns into a chargeback.
- Monitor your customer service reviews. It can go a long way with customers if they see you’re paying close attention.
- Don’t over charge your customers. You want to make sure what your offering is supported by the price you’re charging. For example, offering nine videos for $29.00 a month is not going to cut it.
The bottom line is if you’re taking care of your customers, you are ensuring that you are protecting your brand by keeping customers coming back for more purchases. You’re also keeping regulators and unnecessary card brands’ rules at bay. Remember a company’s greatest assets are its customers, without them there is no company. Have questions or need assistance? Reach out to us at [email protected]
Want to learn more about to increase your profits and avoid regulations via customer satisfaction?
Contact us today, we’d love to chat with you about our ideas and solutions. It’s another way we are here for our merchants All the Way to Paid ™.