When the executive team at Warwick, R.I.-based Priority Payment Systems Northeast joined forces to do business as an independent office of Priority Payment Systems, they based their decision on Priority's extensive experience in the payments industry, as well as the company's appealing business philosophy.
"We saw that they had a different approach than a lot of other acquirers out there," said Joseph "Joe" Harrington, President and CEO of Priority Payment Systems Northeast. "They were more product driven than price driven." Other factors were the agent and ISO portals Priority offered, which few had at the time, and the company encouraged feedback on product development and innovation throughout, he recalled.
The portal concept inspired the creation of the Merchant Control Center (MCC), developed entirely by Harrington's team and introduced in 2018. The MCC mobile app allows merchants to engage quickly regarding any issues or needs that emerge. For example, to address POS terminal issues, the app can create a ticket, which the merchant sends using the "submit" button, and it's routed directly to the appropriate representative using the built-in digital phonebook.
"We've taken the technology and applied it to the service end of the industry," Harrington said. "When you look at our app, it's so robust as far as what the merchant is able to do and the means that they can communicate back to their sales office as to what they need. When the sales office reaches out it's more of a problem resolution phone call than it is a time consumption phone call."
Additional features in the MCC system include the ability to send push notifications to alert merchants of external issues that might be occurring, such as power outages or funding delays, for example. Merchants may also use the app to complete Payment Card Industry Self Assessment Questionnaires, he noted.
One product Harrington's team took to the next level is the online ordering eTab app, one of Priority's MX Merchant marketplace offerings. "We do all of the menu building in-house," Harrington said. "We also build apps for customers that are far less expensive than the market charges." He believes the apps are fairly priced, which makes it possible for merchants to include more options in their systems.
Another concept developed by the team and launched in 2017 is the Peer-to-Peer Conference, which Priority hosts free-of-charge to exhibitors and invited attendees, is open to competitors and presents panel discussions on topics of interest to small ISOs. Harrington noted that the first conference was so popular that additional events followed, including one held in conjunction with the 2017 Western States Acquirers Association conference.
"We opened our playbook to show people how we do things as a smaller office," Harrington said. "I truly believe that the small offices out there are the bloodline of the industry."
He pointed out that the P2P conferences present methods that have proven successful for his team. "We want it to be something that brings value to the people who are on the street," he said, noting that discussions have included how his team treats a product, customer service, and how they manage PCI compliance.
Additionally, Priority Payments Systems Northeast has reseller offices in several states and offers reseller programs connected with a particular product, Harrington said, adding that all sales representatives are paid employees, which means the firm takes on full responsibility for each member of the team.
"Our footprint is that we want to be a game changer," Harrington said. "We want to find ways to enhance the experience that the merchants have with the credit card processing industry as a whole. The direction that we're headed, similar to our customer service app, is how do we make that experience more enjoyable? How do we make it more fire and forget?"
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