Jordan Thaeler, the author of Reforming Retail, writes extensively about the restaurant and retail landscape. He refers to his blog as, "Honest guidance for navigating the offline world."
Below is an excerpt from Jordan's article about how point-of-sale and payments companies are merging in some cases, but not without their own set of problems. Jordan highlights Boomtown's Relay platform as a potential solution for many of the issues they are running into in the connected world of support that they are playing in. Below is an excerpt from the article and you can read the full article here.
POS software, IT networking, and third-party bolt-ons are all entirely new playing fields for payments companies. The merchant is buying a number of technologies, built by multiple companies, that all rely on a local internet setup. The result is mass confusion when it comes time to support the customer through troubleshooting a seemingly simple problem.
The world effectively looks like this:
A large payment processor has already shown exactly how we expected payments companies will handle this discomfort: by giving up on their POS efforts. So much for developing a new skill set…
The truth of the matter is that payments companies do not have the DNA to successfully support what they’re taking on; this is not the same as rebuilding a merchant file or replacing a dumb terminal. Even the POS companies they’ve acquired are mostly antiquated assets with outdated processes and products, so it’s difficult to rely on the people that now report to you to solve this issue.
No one party is going to be able to act as a universal support desk for all the merchant’s products / services / technologies. What you need is a unified platform that stitches together the different providers and makes it really easy for the merchant to get support across that network.
We have been following Boomtown since they started and believe they are tackling this problem head-on with their support platform called Relay. That’s in addition to other capabilities they provide that we’ve been fans of for a long while.
We caught up with Chip Kahn, Founder and CEO of Boomtown, to ask about this. Chip explained,
“Given the tangle of vendor solutions on a common local network, a unifying fabric is needed to bring together a complete view of the ‘support graph’. From a single dashboard a merchant can request help for a large number of things.” In Chip’s mind the right solution – bespoke to the payment industry – breaks down silos and utilizes past interactions to predictively solve for the unique technology and service stack on an individual merchant basis. ”We call this fabric Relay. Relay is an intelligent platform for technology support and customer service that enables you to deliver simple, predictive, and personal experiences at scale.”
A tool like Relay is sorely needed to answer this third question because as-is, merchants are struggling with the payments industry’s definition of “support”. It could be that payments providers answer the first two questions successfully but screw the pooch on the third one.
We’ll wait on the sidelines to see how the answers to these questions play out. But they’re critical if the payments industry doesn’t want to shit the bed on POS.
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