Sometimes Old School Techniques are Required – Square Finds Out the Hard Way

Square in Action
Square in Action

The news is starting to trickle out about one of the hottest technology plays out there.  It’s our friends at Square. You’ve probably seen them if you’ve paid for anything at a small business lately or at your local farmers market.  Lots of these folks are using the little card readers to allow you to swipe your credit/debit card to pay for your purchases.  You definitely know them if you are a small merchant who wants to start accepting electronic payment instead of cash or checks. Square is a real plus and the transaction fees are a fraction of the going rate through your local bank.

What’s challenging though has been the customer service needed when the occasional electronic transaction goes sour.  Square’s current plan is to offer you an e-mail response within 24 hours or you can kick-off a chat session to resolve your case.  Sounds like it might work but I can assure you that if you are one of the unlucky merchants caught with a bad payment or a frustrated customer, there is no time like right now to get things resolved.

At the end of the day, I have to give Square some credit.  I’m guessing they adopted the service model they thought their customers would find most friendly.  After all, the transactions are taking place on smartphones.  A recent Dimension Data report highlights the growing acceptance of texting, chat, and email on these devices, but also shows the persistent reliance on traditional voice technologies. In addition, I think Square failed to realize that when it comes to resolving issues surrounding money you need to stick pretty close to the tried and true service models we see in the banking world.  It doesn’t need to be fancy but your customers do have certain expectations. 

There is talk that Square is considering opening up a contact center in order to quell the noise about their challenging customer service.  I could not agree more.  I’ll bet customers would be happy to tolerate a little wait time.  I’d even goes as far as saying they’d be open to entering an account number so you could pop their account record and last set of transactions.  I’d go further to suggest they wouldn’t mind a bit of hold time if they knew live assistance was on it’s way.  They’d be happy campers once they got connected.

So kudos to Square for considering a contact center approach.  Just make sure that whatever solution you choose acts the same way with mobile devices as it does with traditional phone lines.  Nothing worse than offering a new service method that doesn’t quite take care of business.   

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