Growth is always an uphill battle, especially in a competitive industry like payment processing. The key to driving consistent growth is finding new and novel opportunities to provide more value for end merchants, and that can be difficult in an industry that – at least on the surface – can seem very homogeneous. ISOs looking to identify new ways to serve merchants better and offer them more need to generate a deeper understanding of how merchants actually operate and interact with payment services. Unfortunately, the traditional tools used to generate customer insight – like satisfaction surveys, reviews, and even conversations – can often paint a misleading picture. Instead, forward-facing ISOs should be looking for ways to observe the way merchants behave and interact with payment processing products, because unobtrusive customer observation, like website visitor tracking, almost always provides the least biased picture possible. 


Take Inspiration from The Office

In the hit show The Office, viewers are given an intimate (albeit fictional) look into the minutiae of the daily operations of Dunder Mifflin Paper Co. Unsurprisingly, many of us who are fans could describe Dunder Mifflin’s operations in a surprising level of detail. That kind of ongoing, deep observation of people at work makes for great comedy, but it also has valuable applications in the real world, and McKinsey identifies direct observation as one of the best ways to generate deeper insights into customer behaviors and needs. 

Observation is so powerful because it gets to the heart of how people actually use products and services, rather than just how they say they use them. For instance, a merchant might say they have no need for certain value-added services like fraud protection or next-day funding – and they may even believe it – but that could be an in-the-moment answer that ignores the fact the merchant struggles with fraud or regularly gripes about how long funding takes.

Obviously, an ISO looking for deeper insights into its customer demographics can’t hire a camera crew to film 24/7, but, there are plenty of ways that observation can be performed. The first and most obvious is to monitor the ongoing history of a merchant’s support requests. What a merchant says in any given moment may not reflect the reality of their needs, but over time, the aggregate will paint a much clearer picture. In extreme situations, large ISOs looking for ways to better serve large clients can embed support staff at a client’s headquarters or even at a retail location, but in the digital world, that kind of physical observation is often unnecessary thanks to the most powerful observation tool available today – data. 


Tap Into Better Data Sources

Data is at the heart of an enormous number of business processes today because our connected world enables the collection of raw data on almost everything we do. ISOs looking to gain new insights into their existing and potential merchants have a sea of valuable and unbiased customer information available to them – if they know how to tap into it. 

Payment processing has always been a data-heavy industry. The problem is the data produced by each processor, each merchant, and each card transaction has traditionally been scattered and difficult to wrangle into anything cohesive and usable. Today, that’s changing rapidly. Now, the key to learning more about merchants is to find better sources of data and – maybe even more importantly – better ways to manage, organize, and display that data. Rather than depending on raw processor reports that need to be pored over and mined manually, today’s ISOs can tap into advanced tools like customer resource management software that automatically combine the totality of merchant and sales data and present it in an easy-to-read, easy-to-sort format. 

IRIS CRM, for instance, provides an analytics dashboard that allows ISOs to quickly and easily access and sort data from any and all merchants across their entire portfolio. Just a few of the available data points include:

  • Monthly top performers 
  • Transaction amounts and volume broken down by day, month, card type, and many more factors
  • Detailed history of retrievals and chargebacks, including code, reason, type, account, and more
  • Time since first and last batch
  • Ongoing risk alerts and reporting
  • Vital information like DBA, MID, and more

The ability to quickly and accurately pull any information needed in a matter of seconds ensures that ISOs understand not only how a merchant’s payment processing services are meeting their true operational needs, but also how each merchant fits into the ISO’s own portfolio. The ease of access to a deeper level of merchant data also ensures ISOs actually use the data available to them – a key factor in generating new insights, since, when presented with a wall of confusing information, people will often simply ignore it.


Follow Lead Interactions with Visitor Tracking in Real-Time

On top of the ability to manage, understand, and use raw merchant data better, IRIS CRM also provides ISOs with another innovative way to gather insights into their merchants – real-time website visitor tracking. The real-time visitor tracking tool uses cookies to tie a lead or merchant’s interactions on an ISO’s website to the matching account in the CRM’s lead management system. Every time a merchant with an existing lead account visits a page or clicks a link, the details of that interaction, along with the time spent on-page, are automatically captured to the merchant’s notes section. 

Real-time visitor tracking enables ISOs to observe merchant behavior while remaining entirely invisible. That ensures the interactions observed are organic and the system provides the ISO with a wealth of unbiased information about the products and services the merchant is the most interested in. In many cases, the merchants themselves won’t even realize that they’ve returned regularly to the same pages or spent significant time on one part of a site or another, but the data captured will make that type of interaction concentration very clear to the ISO. The result is that ISOs can easily identify upsell and growth opportunities with existing clients and get a jump start on meeting the needs of new prospects, in some cases before a direct conversation has even taken place. 


Observation of what prospects and customers actually do, in addition to what they say, is an extremely powerful tool for ISOs looking to pinpoint new opportunities for improved service and growth. Today, the tools provided by advanced software like sales CRMs make unobtrusive observation easier than ever, enabling ISOs, PayFacs, and other merchant services organizations to build more complete, more personal pictures of their leads, existing customers, and overall target demographics than ever before. 

To find out more about how advanced CRM analytics and visitor tracking tools can help your organization learn more about your customers and prospects, schedule a free guided demonstration of IRIS CRM today.