AUBURN, Maine, Sept. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- It's coming: The holiday season and the rush of revenue. It's the stuff of retailers' happy dreams. But with the switch over to EMV® or chip cards, the anticipation of failed transactions, downed EMV® POS terminals, and long, slow moving lines on Black Friday is what really keeps retailers up at night, according to the technical cleaning specialists at KICTeam, Inc. While speed and efficiency are critical to the bottom line, they are also the main components to ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty. Should anything change that, check out becomes a nightmare.
Nothing frustrates a paying customer more than the inability to use their debit or credit card due to devices that jam, incur errors or won't accept payment. And nothing is more debilitating to operations than a line of waiting customers, unable to move because of POS failures. The amount of time wasted on rejected cards or read errors has become measurable and revenue losses stunning. Think about it. Every minute, every second a patron has to stop a transaction to determine what's wrong with their card, change cards, or track down a manager to fix a self- service device is revenue lost. And an exasperated customer, who walks away because your machines won't work, may not come back. Wouldn't ease and speed of payment be one of the first things you consider to create the best experience possible for your customers?
And there are additional card processing fees, chargebacks and fallback penalties, and the liability issues associated with unsuccessful EMV® transactions. Failure to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) governing payment procedures, have serious and costly consequences. Maintaining the uptime of EMV® devices not only lowers the risk of the shift in liability associated with using the magstripe reader or manual keyed entry, but also has a reduced risk of a data security breach. The negative impact on brand image of a breach can cause millions in lost revenue.
These payment failures could be the difference between a fast, steady stream of happy holiday shoppers bringing in revenue and a growling group of discouraged people driving away from your business. And dirt is what can make that nightmare a reality.
Dirt? Yes. In today's brick and mortar retail environment, the core component of operational success is credit and debit payment. It is the culmination point of the customer facing experience. But even the newest, most advanced customer payment systems are still subject to environmental conditions, airborne contaminants and just plain dust. Unlike simpler magstripe readers, chip technology requires sensitive friction and landing pins to make contact with the embedded chip. Due to normal environmental conditions and use, these pins can become dirty very quickly. Dirt, grease and grime can disrupt or negate the data exchange causing the transaction to fail.
And it's not just the environment. We know that money is dirty. But credit cards? Credit cards, one of the most handled items we possess, are a hotbed of germs and bacteria. In a recent study1 conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London, one in 10 credit cards were contaminated with fecal organisms. Studies have also found food particles, drug residue, grease, and DNA from a variety of animals. When customers use your payment terminals, all those contaminants are transferred into the devices. Now doesn't THAT make you want to clean?
How? By implementing a simple, weekly device cleaning program utilizing pre-saturated cleaning cards, wipes and swabs. These are inexpensive disposable products specifically designed to clean the interior contact points that facilitate transactions on electronic devices such as payment terminals and bill acceptors. They remove dirt, salt, sand, dust, oils and other contaminants in a safe, efficient manner. Cleaning programs ensure overall device efficiency by eliminating or minimizing failed transactions. Time and again we hear the devices aren't broken, they are just dirty.
A 2013 pilot study done in 15 national retail locations over a 5 week period had store owners and operators testing a very simple cleaning kit designed to target specialized POS equipment including card readers, touch screens and thermal printers. The results? 100% of Test Stores noticed a reduction in error messages and recommended that a cleaning kit be implemented as Preventative Maintenance because:
- Lines moved faster since the devices functioned properly
- Customers were more satisfied that card readers worked the first time
- Managers felt the small investment in the cleaning kit reduced need for service and device replacement
The idea to advocate routine cleaning has proven extremely effective in the industry, saving companies thousands annually. "It's amazing how many decision makers in the retail industry already know about adopting cleaning programs to keep their store devices operating at optimal levels," said Greg Dumais, Business Development Executive for KICTeam, the leading experts in technical cleaning programs. "With EMV® implementation in full swing, keeping the devices operating full time has never been more important."
Whether merchants do it in-house or utilize a POS service company, moving to a regulated cleaning regime with mandated adoption enables merchants to manage their in-store transactions with a higher data transmission rate and maintain a seamless transaction process. This reduces costs associated with failed chip reads, fallback fees, delayed transaction speeds or perceived "broken" devices. By maintaining the uptime of the EMV® device, the merchant lowers the risk of a data breach and the shift in liability associated with using the magstripe reader or manual keyed entry. The company will also benefit from improved POS performance metrics which have been proven to have a direct impact on customer retention and revenue.
On Black Friday, there will be things you can't control: the economy, crazed customers, power failures, "acts of God." So you have to rely on the things you can control to make things go smoothly. The easiest way of eliminating your Black Friday EMV® nightmare is by having clean, functional devices. Dream happy, retailers!
1 Dirty Money 15 October, 2015 http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/newsevents/news/2012/dirty_money.html