When Vendors Don’t Deliver: How to Navigate Issues

As merchant services professionals, we’ve all found ourselves in this very uncomfortable position: a vendor isn’t delivering, and we’re left holding the bag.

Here’s the thing about payments… we all want to be in control of our service delivery and destiny.

But we need processors, POS devices, gateways, security/compliance services, and an ever-changing combination of other providers to fill in the gaps and help us deliver what we hope is a seamless experience for our merchants.

Sometimes those things break. Or fall short of service levels.

Yet the merchants come to us. They bang on our doors demanding answers. As they should— often this affects their cash flow, the very lifeline of their business.

It can put us in what feels like a very helpless position. But here are some constructive tips to help you weather the storm:

✔️ Communicate clearly with your merchants and vendor. Share enough information, but not so much that it’s overwhelming or irrelevant. Tell your merchants how this affects them. Tell your vendor how this is impacting you and your merchants without being whiny. This is an art form, practice makes perfect.
✔️ Take responsibility. Even though this is not “your” issue it has now become your issue. Pointing fingers not only does you no good, but it says something about you (and it’s not good.)
✔️ Keep your cool. Losing your composure on an innocent bystander employee of a vendor will get you nowhere.
✔️ Hold vendors accountable, respectfully. Ask these kinds of questions: “Do you have a timeline for resolution?” “May I expect an update by the close of business today?” “Do you have any suggested workarounds, even if temporary?”
✔️ Offer to help your vendor. Often we are uniquely positioned to provide insight that can potentially expedite resolution. It’s amazing how this small gesture can change the dynamic of a big problem.
✔️ Reach out and collaborate with others facing the same challenge. Not because misery loves company, instead so that you can brainstorm and share potential workarounds.
✔️ See this as an opportunity to know exactly who you’re doing business with: how does the vendor act when it’s not smooth sailing? Are they owning the issue by getting in front of it? Or taking a nothing-to-see-here approach?
If the vendor is a repeat offender and never takes ownership, it might be time to find a new one.

It’s not a matter of if you will find yourself in this situation, but when. How you handle it can have a big impact on the outcome.


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