NBA Q&A: Carl Churchill, NetPay Merchant Services
Carl Churchill is the Managing Director of NetPay Merchant Services. His organisation has been chosen as a finalist in the BlackBerry Business Enabler of the Year category at the 2014 National Business Awards; as part of Outsource‘s partnership with the NBAs, we got together with the finalists for this award to ask them a few questions about their activities and the changing nature of partnership and collaboration in a rapidly evolving business environment…
Outsource: In the words of the organisers, “The winner of this award will be the organisation that has best helped client or partner businesses to increase profitability by improving efficiency, develop talent or implement innovation.” How do you think your organisation has managed to do any one of these things to the extent that it has been shortlisted?
Carl Churchill: As a card payment service provider NetPay’s ethos is about making life easier for our customers, giving them access to innovative functionality beyond simply offering the ability to process a card transaction. Our Revolution portal gives merchants transactional reporting and analytics without having to invest in costly software or employ a team of data analysts.
Data is one of the most important assets of any business and card payment service providers have access to incredible amounts of raw transaction information that prior to NetPay was simply not being passed onto the merchants in a meaningful way; data is useless unless you present it in a meaningful way. Traditionally managing and monitoring sales activity is a job for analysts and not all merchants have a team of them available to provide this information, consequently users of these services and in particular smaller businesses have been excluded from obtaining real intelligence on their card payment services from a banking level.
NetPay has helped merchants understand what is happening within their businesses enabling them to react to emerging trends as they happen which can then inevitably influence their marketing strategy, identify growth areas and respond to consumer behaviour.
We have helped numerous businesses across the UK and Ireland get access to better value services and improve their businesses efficiency. NetPay is the only business that is making intelligent use of “big data” in the way that we do on the multi-channel basis (in-store and online).
O: When a buy-side organisation engages with a supplier, how far do you think it transfers responsibility for innovation?
CC: A supplier is responsible for building and delivering the innovation, but it’s not innovative without understanding the needs of the organisation – as a result both sides are ultimately responsible for innovation. A supplier who thinks they are building ‘innovative’ services without engaging their customer is painting a house without asking the customer their favourite colour.
The supplier after all is fulfilling the needs and requirements of the client organisation and it is important that they both work together to agree on a solution that solves the issues the client is facing, if one party alone is responsible for the innovation it is possible that the solution would not solve the client’s issue or appropriately integrate with their systems. We can provide the building blocks of the capability to begin resolving the customers challenges and improving the efficiency of their business but not all challenges are the same therefore effective engagement for larger solutions is absolutely essential.
O: Do you think the very definition of partnership, in a business sense, is evolving and if so how?
CC: Since the economic downturn partnerships have been even more about sustainability and ensuring long-term competitive advantage which is especially prevalent in today’s economic marketplace. Ultimately we are all working towards the same goal: happy customers and stakeholders and profitable businesses. We would certainly say the desire and focus on establishing partnership has increased post-recession, very few businesses want to go back in 2008 – it is about looking at alternative options to improve revenue, profit and importantly keep your customers loyal to you. NetPay is a business that is built around partnerships. Therefore if our partnerships fail we fail, when we get them to succeed all those involved enjoy opportunity and growth.
A partnership is a marriage; it’s a bond where two parties unite to drive forward together. Not every journey is going to be perfect but it’s important you focus on the reasons you established that partnership in the first place and press forward to reach a set of common goals.
O: What’s your definition of the perfect client?
CC: As we service our merchants through our reseller partners we have two types of perfect client: the perfect reseller and the perfect merchant.
Our perfect merchant would be:
Forward thinking – willing to embrace and test new technology. As our solutions and services develop we will be looking to run pilot schemes to ensure that we always stay at the forefront of the payments market.
Engaging – responds to communications and provides feedback so that we can improve and evolve our proposition to meet our merchants’ current and future requirements.
Growing – our Revolution portal is a great tool for our clients to use to help identify growth opportunities and manage multiple sites.
An advocate for our business – recommend us to other clients, talk about how we have improved the efficiency of their business.
Profitable – we want to have a long-term relationship with our merchants and not just because we have a multi-year contract in place. We recognise that in financial services we take a level of responsibility to support profitability. A profitable customer brings us security therefore it is in our interests to support them with tools and innovation that will let them maximise profitability.
Our perfect reseller would be:
Forward thinking – looking for the next growth area and eager to embrace new technologies to distinguish themselves in the market, make processes more efficient and delivery new capability to the market.
Well connected – either an established business with existing customers with the opportunity to cross sell our services or those who are well connected with organisations that require payments as an essential part of their business.
Ready to diversify – some of our best reseller partners have never been in the payments industry before, arguably some wouldn’t naturally consider payments an opportunity but they have an established customer base who do use payment services. Additional value brings their customers closer to them and through NetPay they are presented with new revenue opportunities.
Willing to invest – our most successful resellers have been those that have been able to invest in additional staff and resources to develop their proposition. Like any partnership, you will only get something out if you put something in. That doesn’t necessarily need to be capital but it definitely does need to be time, effort and commitment.
An advocate for our business – recommend us to other potential resellers but importantly be the advocate because you are the business selling our services – passion and belief plays an important part of success.
As part of our alliance with the National Business Awards, Outsource has conducted a series of interviews with finalists for the BlackBerry Business Enabler of the Year award. These interviews, comprising responses to a series of set questions, are NOT the result of a commercial relationship between Outsource and any of the finalist organisations. For more information on this please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org