Running a small business is not for the lazy or the faint of heart. Success requires long hours, intense dedication and a customer-focused attitude. While factors such as location, economic conditions and even luck will help to determine how well your company fares, never underestimate the power of contented customers. If people are happy with your products and business practices, they will often go the extra mile to patronize your store. Believe it or not, one of the best ways to foster this upbeat customer attitude is by making their experience in your place of business positive from the moment they walk in until they pay for their items. You probably already have the friendliness and knowledge down to a science; now it’s time to explore how getting the best kind of credit card machine can further enhance your customers’ shopping experience.
It’s no secret that you should accept credit cards. With increasing frequency, people are exclusively relying on plastic to pay for the goods and services they buy. What’s more, a study conducted by the firm of Price Waterhouse Cooper showed that people usually spend an average of three to four times more money when they use credit cards. Small business owners can no longer afford to restrict themselves to accepting cash only. Although fees will be involved, you can minimize them by doing your homework. Take this step and you will win in the long run.
If you’re of a certain age, you probably remember standing at the cash register waiting for what seemed like five years for the retailer to phone your card number into the processing company. Fortunately, times have changed and credit card processing has become exponentially faster. As a business owner, you have a number of options when it comes to the kind of credit card machine you use. Here are the main ones:
- Dial -up terminals. These are the “old school” machines that process your customer’s card over a standard telephone line. They are stable, easy to use and inexpensive.
- IP-based terminals. These are similar to a dial-up unit except that they do their work over the internet. If you need faster processing of around three seconds for a transaction as opposed to the dial-up’s slower 20 to 25 seconds, this machine is for you.
- Wireless terminals. These work over wireless networks such as CDMA or GPRS. If a lot of your work is done on the go or at trade shows, this type of processor is optimal.
- Virtual processors. These involve loading software into your computer and purchasing a card reader and a printer. This system, while effective, has not garnered the popularity that the others have.
- Mobile phone systems. These processors allow you to use a card reader and a mobile phone equipped with a processing app. They offer ease of use, flexibility and convenience and are great for tech savvy entrepreneurs.
As you review all of these varied options, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. And who could blame you? Just remember that your credit card processing machine should make your life easier, not more complicated or prohibitively expensive. Don’t sign any contracts until you find a company that offers reliable, friendly and knowledgeable customer service. What’s more, your system should be affordable and intuitive. Once you arrive at the system that best fits your needs, you will be pleasantly surprised at what a difference it makes. While it won’t totally eliminate all of the blood, sweat and tears that you must put into running your company, it will enhance your customers’ experiences and help to pave the road to your success.