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Author: Bonnie Kruckenberg

New Webpage Resource for your Chip Card Questions

So, how are you feeling about the Chip Card October 1 liability shift?

After a few weeks of frenzied phone calls and emails we are ready for a breather and are finding that we are back to a more normal pace of daily activities of helping our clients.

We continue to reach out and talk with clients like you, to make sure that they are making an informed decision regarding the liability shift and the implication it might have on their businesses.

If you haven’t gotten a personal phone call or an email from us, we encourage you to review our new website page dedicated the topic of How and Why Should I Accept Chip Cards. We hope you will find it to be a great resource. Go here to find tools and the steps you can review to help decide what actions, if any, you may wish consider.

From the graphic above, you can see we all have a ways to go in moving the United States toward utilizing the Chip Card as fraud protection. Even though this change has been in the works for over four years, we have been finding that really October 1, seems to be the starting date to get this on the top of the priority list for many of the parties involved including processors, hardware and software vendors.

For those who have already made the switch, hats off to you and congratulations on your accomplishment. This is an important step in protecting your business and your customers. For those of you that are still traveling down the path to be Chip Card Ready, we appreciate and thank you for your patience in receiving your new equipment and/or certification of your gateway or POS system.

We look forward to working side by side with you during this conversion and shift in the payments industry. Remember you can always speak with a Relationship Manager about accepting Chip Cards by contacting us by phone (800) 704-7253 or email us by going here.

PS Just a reminder that the Chip Card Liability shift only applies in “card present” situations. To get the facts go here!

How did your sales compare to your competitors’ last week?

Don’t know?  Call us, we know the answer.

This is one of the easiest of the Insights you will see when you begin your 30-day free trial of Wind River Insights.

Not only will you be able to review valuable benchmarking against competitors; you can be assured your social online reputation is being reviewed and protected.

Nowadays, shoppers are reviewing your business online and choosing whether to shop or dine with you. It has become increasingly important that you “mind the store” when it comes to social media. Don’t know where to start? Wind River Insights is the place to begin.

You have trusted us with your merchant processing and now we are asking you to trust us when we tell you that this is an important next step to remain ahead of your competitors. It may seem like something “way out there”, but let us share our experience as to what we see in the industry as your credit card processor, we feel this is going to be “table stakes” to compete in the coming years.

We want to keep and attract the most successful businesses, that is why we believe this is important to let you, our clients, know about this type of product before your competitors do!

It is very affordable, month to month, no contact required and best of all it is simple to understand! Contact us at info@windriverifnancial.com or call 800 704-7253 to view your own information and start your trial! It doesn’t hurt to look and I promise you it will be Insightful.

New Website August 25th!

We are excited to announce the launch of our newly designed website, which officially goes live Monday, August 25th. By updating our website, www.windriverfinancial.com, with a robust new look and feel, we’ve been able to improve navigation and provide enhanced education of our products and solutions.

 

The goal of the website is for clients to easily locate information on payment solutions (credit card terminals, point-of-sale and virtual terminals) along with an easy one-click trip to their online billing statements.

 

It has been our goal in developing this new site to not only include easier navigation to our products & payment solutions, but also to keep our clients up to date on the ever-changing landscape of credit card processing. As part of this effort, our blog format and notifications are receiving updates so it’s easier to subscribe directly to our industry news updates and emails.

 

In the months ahead, with the improved customization which allows for a more user-friendly experience locating monthly billing statements, we will be launching a new online billing portal so customers can more easily view their monthly statements even more convenient as well (more to come on that in Q3/Q4 of this year).

 

So keep your eyes peeled for our new look coming in a few weeks! As always, feedback is appreciated on ways we can improve our service and products. Please let us know if we hit the mark by calling 1-800-704-7253.

Learning about the Family Business

G2 Visits
Mark Courchane’s daughters Claire and Ellen recently had the opportunity to spend some time with Uncle Matt visiting our clients and learning about the business.
Claire reports that one thing we loved discussing with the clients is what made Wind River different. Over and over again, we heard about it’s great value—but even more often, we heard about the impact customer service has had. The clients said they love that when they call in, they talk to an actual human being, not a recording. They said they felt like they had people looking out for them, and people who were willing to guide them through any confusing parts of processing. As credit cards become more and more popular, they really appreciated having such a stable company helping them process!
Meeting with clients was a great opportunity for Ellen and I. At the beginning of the day, we thought that Wind River was mostly contained in a building on Buttonwood Drive. But after getting to meet some of our many clients up close, it was easy to see that Wind River is truly made up of the people that it services.

A short video to introduce Smart/EMV cards to the American Consumer

Smart Cards 101

Have you noticed the increase in media attention and conversations about the introduction of smart cards in the United States? Here is a link to a quick video to introduce Smart/EMV cards to the American Consumer. A great tool to share with your employees, friends and family when they ask: what do they look like and how do they work?

Contact us if we can help you with your questions about smart/ EMV cards or have equipment needs to be able to accept smart cards.

We would be happy to help. Please contact us at info@windriverfinancial.com or call your Relationship Manager (800) 704-7253

Preparing to accept EMV or chip cards or smart cards at your business.

We’ve been hearing a lot about EMV or chip cards in the press these days, and Wind River has published a couple of blogs in the past. To read “What are EMV Chip Cards and What You Should Know About Them” go here and “How Smart are Smart Cards” by going here.

To keep you posted on what you need to know to prepare for acceptance of this coming method of payment at the Point of Sale, I recently came across a well written article in Business Solutions Magazine by Allen Friedman called “What Are The Critical EMV Steps For SMB Merchants?” (Small to Medium size Business)

It offers a good review of some of the steps and impacts EMV has on merchants and their POS systems.

If we can assist you in preparation, please don’t hesitate to contact us by contacting your Relationship Manager directly or calling us at 800 704-7253 or send us an email at info@windriverfinancial.com.

Managing Multiple Priorities!

sara

Are you forever searching for that magic silver bullet that would allow you to find more time in the day! Shortly after the first of the year, fresh with our resolutions to improve our productivity; Wind River Financial engaged Sarah Gibson of Accent Learning and Consulting for some assistance with Managing Multiple Priorities. She was able to offer several ideas and methods. I thought I would share just one of her many helpful tips! Multi-tasking, the ability to do two high function activities at once, doesn’t make us more effective because most of us are only able to do one high level task and one low function task at a time – example: sharpening pencils (low) and holding a conversation (high). While we need to be effective at task-switching (going from one task to another), true multi-tasking is done well by only 2.5% of the population. · Each time we switch task, we risk losing 10-15 minutes getting back to the original task we were working on. Some ways to minimize these interruptions include: · Have team conversations around how each of you can best tell others know you are working a project that needs concentration. · Use your peak energy points (high energy times of day) to do work that requires concentration and creativity. Reserve these times on your calendar. · Set calendar appointments with yourself for long-term tasks that you easily put on the back burner because of interruptions. · Turn off your email pop-up notification during these times. As we all know there just isn’t one easy magic bullet. Hopefully you can incorporate these ideas to find more time in your work day! If you found this helpful or have other tips to share please leave a comment. If you would like more information please feel free to contact Sarah or me!

The Fine Art of the Handshake

Hanshake

The Wind River brand slogan, “After the Handshake,” focuses on all the industry-leading service promises that merchants enjoy for the life of our relationship. In other words, it centers on the “after.”

Recently, an article on Salesdog refocused my attention on the actual handshake.

Many of us take for granted the physical act of “the handshake” and don’t really understand the art of a handshake. It made me think back on my first days in the business world of being taught the proper way to shake hands. Since that time I have had the opportunity to teach our two sons at an early age the importance of a handshake.
I found this to be a nice refresher and hope you will find this to be a helpful reminder and tool in teaching others.
Your handshake says a lot about you. It can convey confidence, warmth, and honesty, or it can signal weakness, uncertainty, and disinterest. Either way, it sends a subtle yet powerful message about who you are. Use these pointers to make sure your handshake sends the right signals, and creates a good impression.

Avoid the power grip. A handshake should be firm, but not overly forceful. Beware of the unconscious tendency to pull the other person toward you as you shake. This can be interpreted as aggressive, and the person’s resistance to you will go up a notch or two.

Nothing wimpy. It may seem painfully obvious, but it’s amazing how many people offer weak, perfunctory handshakes. This is a major turnoff to many people. Firm and friendly always wins the day.

Look ’em in the eye. As you extend your hand, establish eye contact and smile. Show some teeth! A warm and sincere greeting can make you an instant friend.

Get a grip. Never grasp the other person’s fingers. Take their entire hand completely in yours, and gently pump it two or three times.

Turn on the charm. You’ve been talking with a person on the phone for several months, and meet them in person for the first time at a local event. To express your pleasure at finally meeting face to face, you may want to cover their extended hand with your left hand briefly during the handshake. This increases the familiarity and warmth of the handshake. Do not attempt this with someone you don’t know. However, it is often a pleasant gesture when you are shaking hands with someone you’ve met previously. It simply says, “I’m very glad to see you again.”

What to say? No handshake is complete without a spoken greeting. You can’t go wrong with, “It’s a pleasure to meet you.” When meeting someone of high rank or importance to you, you may want to up the ante with, “It’s a great pleasure to meet you.” After the initial greeting, your conversation should begin while you are still shaking hands, for example, “John tells me you’ve made some significant additions to the community.” Your hand should be slowly and somewhat reluctantly withdrawn as the person begins to speak. This slow withdrawal indicates your keen interest in the person and what he is saying.

What’s your body language saying? Posture is important, so stand erect, about three feet (one pace) away from the client, with your hands out of your pockets. Face the person squarely; never approach from an angle, or when the subject is engaged in conversation or otherwise distracted. Wait until you have his full attention before extending your hand.

Saying goodbye. When the meeting is over, it’s time to shake hands again. You now have the opportunity to leave a lasting impression. If you’ve established rapport with the person, it’s a good idea to gently grasp their right forearm with your left hand during the handshake, and restate any promises you may have made during the meeting, for example, “I’ll give you a call next Wednesday. I enjoyed meeting you.” This two-handed shake signals your interest and commitment to this person.

Practice makes perfect. Much like dancing, the fine art of the handshake takes practice. Stand before a mirror and extend your hand. Check to see if you’re projecting an image of confidence, warmth, and enthusiasm. Keep in mind that your handshake reflects your personality, and should be a spontaneous gesture of friendly greeting that comes naturally from within. With a little rehearsal, you will develop the ability to tailor your handshake to every situation you face, and each individual you meet.

Your handshake is a powerful personal and business asset. The time you spend working on it will be time well spent.

If you enjoy some humor take a look at how some folks react when a handshake goes awry. It is from Jimmy Kimmel’s recent salute to “National Handshake Day”. Warning….keep in mind, this is Jimmy Kimmel’s sense of humor.
Have you ever had to teach someone the fine art of the handshake?

The Courts Say You Can Surcharge. But Should You?

By now you may have heard that Visa and MasterCard have changed the rules to give businesses the option to recover fees related to the expense of accepting credit cards. These rule changes stem from a court settlement after a long legal battle between retailers and the payment brands. In its most simplistic form, the rule says that merchants can add a “surcharge” to credit card transactions to help offset processing fees.
But should you?

As the New York Times recently pointed out, retailers are expected to approach this surcharge very cautiously – and with good reason. The actual rules are more convoluted than they appear on the surface, and in today’s economy, surcharging may not be worth the competitive risk.

Before getting mired down in the details of the rules, and before deciding whether to assess the “check out” fee, you might consider these two important questions.

How will my customers react?

Customer reaction will in part be based on price sensitivity, alternative options, and competitor strategies. Some business owners already crossed the “surcharge threshold” back in the day of sky-rocketing fuel costs, when a “fuel surcharge” was implemented. What was customer reaction at the time and how has it changed? What lessons did business learn from this experience? Another strong consideration should be given to how surcharging fits into your overall pricing strategy and client value proposition.

What is the financial implication if I do charge a fee?

When determining the financial implication of check out fees, you must include both revenue and expense projections. Revenue considerations would be the new fee collected less profit on lost sale (if they cannot pay with an alternative payment method.) What business process do you need to put in place to get an accurate assessment of this lost sales opportunities? Incremental expense would include the cost of technology upgrade, training and satisfying the notification requirements (which are substantial). Some of these costs are difficult to estimate because the rules are still being understood by the industry. This can be summarized as follow:

(Effective rate x Credit Card Volume) – Profit on lost sales – (technology upgrade + training + notification costs)

From a strictly financial point of view, unless you process at least $100,000 in credit card volume annually (based on reasonable assumptions), it will probably cost you more to surcharge than you will save. Of course, each situation varies and we would be happy to help you with this analysis.

Please tell us your questions. We are pleased to help you understand the new rules, as well as considering the customer and financial implications of the change.