Don’t be “Full of What the Birds Eat”.

 

My dear Irish mother-in-law has an expression, “You’re full of what the birds eat.”

Over the years, I’ve come to understand what she meant: Don’t try to convince her of something that she knows isn’t true.

So I’ll share a recent experience.

A valued client recently requested to pay his fee with a credit card. I said that we did not currently take credit cards as a form of payment, but I would investigate it right away and get back to him. I called my bank first (you might remember them from a previous guide). They gave me the name of a vendor the bank itself was considering since they had no existing relationship.

I called this vendor and spoke to “Sally,” who was eager to assist. She faxed over some paperwork that was a fax-of-a-fax-of-a-fax. (1st warning)

Though the cover sheet displayed the bank’s name, I knew she didn’t work for the bank. And of course, the forms were blank. When questioned, Sally said, “Oh just sign the forms, fax them back, and we’ll complete them.” (2nd warning)

“Oh, and you’ll need to lease a swipe machine for the next 48 months at a cost of $X,” they further explained. When Sally called to follow-up, she identified herself as calling from my bank even though our caller ID said otherwise. (3rd warning) I decided to look elsewhere.

So off to my favorite internet search engine where I turned up several prospects. Call to company number one resulted in limited information. Call to company number two resulted in some less than helpful forms showing up. Then, as fate would have it, we received a COLD CALL from a credit card “processor.” So what the heck, I called them back.

The sales woman assured me they could handle my needs and faxed over some forms. (Drat: a fax-of-a-fax-of-a-fax!) This time the form was partially completed. When she called back, caller ID betrayed her when an individual name displayed, not the name of the company I thought I was dealing with.

After several questions, she put her manager on the phone (who, it turned out, was the individual identified by caller ID). He said he would make it right. He faxed over a set of completed forms (only a fax-of-a-fax this time!). The paperwork requested a signature that, in part, attested that I had received a copy of the terms and conditions.  Since I had not received any such document, I called back to request it.

The manager responded, “What terms and conditions? You have ALL the paperwork!” When I continued to protest, he said he would get back to me. Sure enough, the missing terms and conditions did show up by email the next day. It also included information on purchasing a swipe machine at a steeply discounted price.

However, I noticed something else as well—all references to the processor were in the name of DIFFERENT company, not one I had heard of to this point in the process. I called the sales woman who informed me that it was the name of the company they used. Huh?

Ok. Enough! I searched the internet and located this new company. I called their customer service number and got a very responsive person who said Sales would call within 48 hours (not right back!). Sure enough, two days later I got a call from the regional sales person.

After I explained my tale of woe, he first confirmed that the previous company did out-source to his company. He apologized for any confusion and said he would take care of me. He explained how the system works (bank, processor, merchant fees, etc), and faxed over his paperwork (crystal clear!) with all supporting documentation. He then called back and reviewed each and every line item and fee (how refreshing!!!).

I asked about buying or leasing a swipe machine. No need for a swipe machine, he replied. All you need is our web portal. When I mentioned that the first two companies had wanted me to purchase or lease a machine, he explained that they were simply layering costs to increase sales commissions (I can neither confirm nor deny this, but makes sense!).

I did sign with this firm and returned the paperwork. An hour later, I received two emails confirming everything. The next morning I got a call from customer service to schedule training, which took place later that day.

I then placed my first “sale” with them over the web. Ahhhhh. This company had explained the process in detail and delivered!

I am now an advocate for this company. I will recommend them to others and will refer them to my bank that is still looking for a vendor.

Now I am sure all the other folks could have processed my orders, but because they were “full of what the birds eat,” they didn’t get my business.

Guide – Tell it like it is and win business. Truth and honesty win out over “just trust us; we’ll take care of you.”

Action item – Prepare your documents with as much plain English as possible and deliver a complete set every time.

© 2009 The Advisors Center, LLC – All Rights Reserved

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2 Responses to “Don’t be “Full of What the Birds Eat”.”


  1. 1 Bill Winterberg November 1, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    I’m curious if you explored credit card payment options through PayPal. Their fee may be slightly higher than other payment processing companies, but if your volume is low as in the advisory business, the higher costs are outweighed by PayPal’s ubiquity and convenience.

    • 2 theadvisorscenter November 1, 2009 at 8:46 pm

      Thanks Bill.

      We ended up with a full service processor with very low fees and full disclosure. We did not explore paypal. Also, The Advisors Center is NOT in the Advisory business but a coaching and training firm.

      I am involved with an Advisory business also, but we do not accept credit cards.


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