Friday, January 30, 2015

Podcast - Building Online Communities

Listen to Entrepreneur Podcast Network host Eric Dye and guest Jeffery Lakes discuss the following:

  • What is the ultimate goal of
  • In using a crowd funding campaign portal, why are most campaigns missing their mark?
  • I understand you are offering $10 gift cards (1 per person) to contributors that are active in specific campaigns…can you tell us more about this?
  • What is Small Business Saturday and what is your involvement or affiliation?

Duration: 6:11                   To listen click on EPN banner link below:

Entrepreneurs Podcast Network 

Podcast - Enabling Independent Retailers

Listen to Entrepreneur Podcast Network host Eric Dye interview founder Jeffery Lakes discussing the following:

  • What is the ultimate goal of
  • How does The Ultimate Gift Card Network™ help small local retailers grow their business?
  • Where is the equity in the small local retailers’ point-of-sale interface with its customers?
  • I understand you are offering $25 American Express gift cards to provide free statement analysis to small local retailers…can you tell us more about this?
  • Why should small local retailers also include mobile payment devices in their point-of-sale mix?

Duration: 12:05             To listen click on the EPN banner link below:       

Entrepreneur Podcast Network 

For additional information click here

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Why Most Companies Fail at Customer Service

If every organization was formed to solve problems, meet market challenges, or to improve consumer experiences in the marketplace, then the disparity between ‘real’ and ‘ideal’ customer service wouldn’t be so significant. However, not everyone ventures into business for the same reasons…or the right reasons; therefore, attitudes and aptitudes for satisfying customers will always vary. This said, most organizations failing to provide satisfying experiences to their customers do so because they do not prioritize customers at the top of their stakeholder food chain. Many will argue, and some will vehemently dispute this notion; however, it is highly unlikely the dissent will come from leaders of organizations with high customer service ratings. 

Most Organizations’ Are Not Customer-Centric

The Business Dictionary website defines customer-centric as “Creating a positive consumer experience at the point of sale and post-sale.” It further says that “A customer-centric approach can add value to a company by enabling it to differentiate itself from competitors who do not offer the same experience.” The word ‘centric’ simply means “located or constituting the middle of something.” Needless to say, when customer complaints far outweigh praise (and recommendations); such companies are not proving that customers are at the core of why they exist and what they do. Company leaders that prioritize shareholders’ returns and executive team compensation above the vitality of its customers and its front-line employees find it very difficult to shape their organizations into customer-centric enterprises. is an excellent example of an industry-leading enterprise that prioritizes customers ahead of shareholders and cost-saving tactics contrary to its mission and stated core values. First, very seldom (if ever) pays out dividends to stockholders. Instead, the company chooses to invest profits extensively into technologies and processes that improve its customers’ experience while also advancing its competitive edge. Even more, is not too big to apologize when they blow it…whereas most kick the wheels of their PR machines into full gear when that happens. This approach resonates big with customers, and positions for tremendous loyalty among its customers which also fuels significant goodwill (e.g. brand equity). 

Most Business Owners’ and Managers Are Not Leaders

Known or not, as organizations fail to prioritize customers first, they are also failing to align competitively within their respective industries. Undoubtedly, this speaks to organizational leadership deficiencies on at least three levels, as follows:

  • Defining market opportunity
  • Conceptualizing the business venture
  • Implementing the right strategy

Whether done in haste or simply a lacking aptitude for business development, many entrepreneurs fail to define ‘their’ market opportunity, thereby failing to gain a sense for the needs or demands of consumers as well as for the tactics and results of their competitors. Failing to define the market opportunity often reveals itself within weak mission statements…or those communicated poorly to the marketplace as well as to front-line employees. Failure to define market opportunity ultimately leads to failure to exhaustively conceptualize the business venture. In both instances, the call to leadership requires entrepreneurs to empathetically consider customers amid their problems and pain-points and devise solutions to cure them and strategies to achieve doing so. These fundamental, yet often negated steps, when implemented will shape how leaders communicate throughout their organizations and into their targeted markets’ mind space. Nonetheless, many fail to size up the external and internal landscapes, thereby leading them to implement the wrong strategy…assuming they have a strategy.

In summary, poor customer service is a result of poor organizational leadership…Plain and simple! Often times, organizations lacking fundamentally sound leadership will fail to prioritize their customers first in their stakeholder food chain, thereby missing out on opportunities to establish distinct value propositions to the marketplace that others aren’t meeting. Thereafter, such misalignment affects leaders’ ability to position their organizations in the marketplace, often times creating confusion instead of mission, vision, and strategies that foster customer satisfaction and organizational success.  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Mobile Social Marketing for Independent Retailers

In today’s competitive marketplace, small, independent retailers must implement same caliber mobile and social marketing tactics as big-box retailers and online merchants, or risk being left in the dust in the race for customers. Groovv® Offers is an easy-to-use mobile and social marketing tool that increases traffic and drives repeat sales. Groovv® Offers takes the guesswork out of marketing by having hundreds of themes and templates to choose from. This enables merchants to customize an offer in minutes, then send it to their customers of Facebook, Twitter, email, text message, and even their own website – all with a single click.

Groovv® Offers is another dynamic solution powered by Total Merchant Services with small retailers in mind. Crafted from Total’s acquisition of FanMinder, Groovv® Offers enables users to easily create offers, reach customers anywhere, and send offers Facebook, Twitter, and other social sharing platforms. With Groovv® Offers, merchants can create specials, coupons, sales and more using a gallery of hundreds of headlines, offering types and stunning themes. Beyond Facebook and Twitter, Groovv® Offers also enables merchants to send offers to their websites, email lists, or as text messages, all with one click.  

Groovv® Offers makes it easy for merchants to acquire new customers because every offer is sharable, making it easy for customers to spread the word. Also, Groovv® Offers enable retailers to tap into customers spending 46% more with merchants offering reward programs than those not doing so. And Groovv® Offers equips merchants for viewing every offer’s performance in a real-time dashboard that is available anytime, anywhere. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

No Long-Term Merchant Services Contracts

End Bad Merchant Services Contracts Today!
In today’s competitive marketplace, retailers of all sizes must maintain the freedom to partner with vendors offering the leading-edge technologies that keep their businesses competitive and operating efficiently. Just as paying for processing and point-of-sale equipment is a thing of the past, so is signing long-term contracts for merchant services. Total Merchant Services totally gets it. Not only does Total provide merchants with free equipment of every variety, they do so as merchants only sign on a month-to-month basis.

Why? So that Total Merchant Services can earn its customers’ business everyday by providing excellent service, and innovating with small retailers in mind.

Many small retailers find themselves stuck in long-term contracts with merchant service providers inhibiting their growth through poor service, high rates, and non-existent innovation. Terminating, in most cases, requires paying up to $500, which is burdensome for most independent retailers. For example, some merchants pay 50 basis points more on transaction processing than they would if they were a Total Merchant Services customers. Assuming $20,000 monthly credit card sales, reducing rates from 1.69% to 1.19% would save $100 per month or $1,200 annually. And, merchants with no long-term contracts can leverage their freedom into lower rates and newer equipment when necessary for their continued patronage. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Next Day Funding for Small Retailers

Merchant cash advances for small retailers
In today’s competitive retailing marketplace, small, independent retailers must have access to working capital when needed. Merchant cash advances have emerged as a viable alternative, particularly when traditional financing is not an option. Merchant cash advances are not loans, but advances against future MasterCard and Visa sales paid back via a small, agreed-up percentage of daily credit card transactions. There are no fixed payment schedules, no restrictions, no collateral, and no bank fees – all the business has to do is keep doing business as usual.

With payments solutions for every situation, Total Merchant Services also provides cash on demand for small retailers, including next day funding via merchant cash advances. This enables retailer operators to expand or renovate their stores, or introduce new products or advertising campaigns to grow their businesses. When the need for capital arises, Total Merchant Services shows small retailers the money. 

QuickBooks® Integrated Credit Card Processing

Free QuickBooks Pro 2013 Placement

In today’s competitive and fast-paced marketplace, retailers of all sizes gain exponentially with easy-to-integrate solutions. One solution that helps make small retailers more efficient is QuickBooks® with integrated credit card processing. This dynamic solution enables small retail merchants to streamline their storefront interface with their back-office operations to manage their business’ finances more efficiently.

The Total Merchant Services processing solution includes free QuickBooks® Pro software and a free USB card swipe device. Total Processing in QuickBooks® eliminates the need for a separate processing terminal as well as the need to enter batch transaction in accounting software.

Total Merchant Services offers the QuickBooks® with integrated credit card processing available as free placement to small retailers, furthering their mission to end the days where merchants have to buy or lease equipment.