You have designed your new surcharge program. It has been over 30 days since you notified the card brands. You have been thorough and have tested everything from signage to technology. You are ready to launch and monitor your surcharge program… What next?
You will need to monitor your new surcharge program, and sometimes, adapt or pivot. Doing this ensures that your program will be around for a long time.
Just because you launched your surcharge program, doesn’t mean that it will be a success. You wouldn’t build a business, hire staff, then immediately walk away and expect it to be a success, would you?
When you started a business, you are generally a part of the daily operations in the beginning. You do this to help it build its foundation, become profitable and scalable. The same goes when you make a major change to your payment model.
In this quick guide, I am going to show you some of the areas you will need to keep your eye on. Also, we will look at a few areas where you may need to pivot.
Ready to get started?
Before I go too far into detail, if you are a local business who needs to monitor your surcharge program, please leave a comment below. Write ”Yes“ if you are and “No” if you are not. You can write more, of course, we would love to see it. I want to use these results for a future guide.
Flip the Switch
When I was a kid, one of my favorite things was to flip switches. I loved it. I played with every switch on the wall. After a while, graduating to play with electronics and build my own switches.
Today, my daughter is the same. She is always dragging her stool to different areas in the house to flip on or off the switches. She is so proud each time. I love this.
Naturally I enjoy the launching of a well-crafted surcharge program. Assuming that you included and tested all requirements of your surcharge program, follow the below steps for a quick launch.
Quick Launch Steps
- Do a quick walk through the morning before launching. Check for signage [Visa’s example] and opt-out notifications. If they are in place continue.
- Double-check with your staff one more time. Everyone should be aware that the launch is today and they should be ready with their rebuttals.
- Unplug your old terminal. Replace it with your new surcharge ready equipment or software. Do not cancel your old plan right away. I always like a 2-week buffer to make sure your new program is operating to your expectation first.
- Run a test transaction of a credit and debit. If it is working well, it is time to trust your staff and open your business for the day.
Review with Staff
One of my favorite things to do is to role play with my staff.
Usually what I do is create a list of scenarios. Scenarios such as questions, concerns, and or complaints. I put them in a jar. First I will be the one to pick a scenario. I will then have the staff one-by-one act out the scenario and let me handle the questions or concerns.
Don’t make them too difficult, I am telling you, you are not going to get a list of hateful complaints. Be realistic and prep them that a few questions or concerns is ok. Generally we find it can be up to 1-3% of your transactions for your first 30 days. After that it drops down under 1%.
Next, I pass the jar onto the staff and let them take turns being the customer and the staff member. This works well and is usually a lot of fun.
Now here is where we analyze.
I want to warn you, try NOT to do this your first week. Your first week will always have a few that are resistant to change. Tell your staff you want at least one week of ”trying it your way” before moving onto another.
Now, after a week, ask how it has been going. Has it been bad? No? Did you have any complaints? A few? Did those people still buy but with a cheaper method? Interesting… Keep a log of what you hear and try not to react until you hear the whole story.
Next, when you get your new statement, compare it to your previous statement.
Were the sales compatible? Did you save a ton of money?
If nothing changed from now, would this be worth it and would you do it again?
Adapting is something that we all have to do from time to time.
Based on what you heard, are there areas that need adapting? For example, is there anything you are saying in your FAQ that is not resonating with your customers?
Is there some times where you might not want to do the surcharge? For example, on certain items that you know the customer just cannot afford the additional 25 cents? This can happen.
Do not be afraid to adapt and try something different. I love doing A/B testing in my office. I will often do testing like this week over week. Once I find something I like, I will test it against something else, the winner is the new base that I am testing against.
One thing that I always recommend is scheduled maintenance. No, I am not referring to your vehicle. I am referring to how you monitor your surcharge program, over time.
Some people think that scheduled maintenance is a sham when it comes to vehicles. However, ask anyone who has made their car last or has driven 60 thousand miles without a single repair will attribute their success to two things. The first, being a decent driver and not driving your car like you are Mario Andretti. The second is sticking to their scheduled maintenance.
Scheduled maintenance is there to prevent your car from breaking down. Just as it is here to prevent your business from breaking down.
What I mean by scheduled maintenance is to put on a calendar your plan. I recommend the following:
If you make no changes to your network, processor or process:
- Once per month: Check your statements. You are looking to make sure that you are collecting the whole transaction, minus the processing fee. Thus, if you sell $100, you charged $103.50 to the customer, and $100 is now in your account.
- Once per month: Audit your software or machines by validating that it can tell the difference between debit and credit. Swipe your own debit. Or go get a prepaid debit and make sure it can tell.
- Once per month: Double check that all signage is clear, concise, and relevant.
- Once per quarter: Review with your staff. Are there any patterns they are seeing? Are they still up to date on their rebuttals?
- Once per year: Check with your rep and or your accountant to make sure that your current process is still the correct process for your state.
Conclusion – Monitor your Surcharge Program
In conclusion, as long as you continue to monitor your surcharge program, and audit the system on occasion, you will be great!
Keep in mind, as technology continues to change and evolve, so does the payments industry. I always recommend annual reviews of your account with your processor. With programs like this, it is good to have them looked at as well to make sure you are up to date on any compliance changes.
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Thank you so much and congratulations on your new surcharge program.