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Payment Processing Providers: Are You Surveying Your ISVs?

Five key reasons to regularly survey your partners

Article by Sheridan Trent

The opportunity for payment processing providers presented by partnerships with Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) is immense; TSG estimates there are over 300,000 active ISVs worldwide, and some experts predict that by the end of 2024, revenue from Software as a Service (SaaS) will reach over $369B.

Although ISVs have become one of the fastest-growing customer acquisition channels for merchant processors, the characteristics that make them valuable partners also put them at risk of attrition. For example, it’s common for ISVs to work with more than one merchant processor at a time, or even to be processor-agnostic. This makes discontinuing a partnership a simple process if the ISV already has other partners they are familiar with and can easily switch to. Other threats that could influence attrition have to do with each ISV’s individual experience with their payment pricing partners: Do they like their merchant processor’s value-added solutions? Is the merchant boarding process easy for their clients? How do they feel about their commission splits? Are they happy with their processor’s technology? When it comes to these types of questions, the amount of choice ISVs have in the merchant processing market means there is little incentive for them to continue working with a partner with whom they feel dissatisfaction.

Though initiatives to collect feedback can be time-intensive, the risks created through inaction are worse, which makes them necessary. Below are five key reasons payment processing providers should regularly survey ISVs.

1. Know What Your ISVs Want

Choice in a processing partner includes pricing, but it also goes beyond it. One industry survey found that 37% of ISVs rank customer service and support as a top factor when choosing a payment partner. For other ISVs, having developer-friendly APIs may be more important, or they may want specific types of billing functionality. Others may want more frequent contact to help guide their payment strategy through the lifecycle of their relationship with their merchant processor. Regardless of their needs, it’s difficult to know what priorities they may have without asking, which is why efforts to understand them are so critical.

2. Know How Your ISVs View You

Context is key when it comes to interpreting results. Broader surveys allow for the opportunity to collect data from ISVs you currently work with, as well as ISVs you do not, which can help put scores into perspective. Are your ISV partners as satisfied with you as they are with the other merchant processors they work with? Are there areas where ISVs rate you consistently lower or higher? Aggregating results can help clarify where you stand compared to the market. Further, understanding ISVs outside of your portfolio can provide valuable insights for the future.  

3. Prioritize Your To-do List. Then Take Informed Action

You may already have some feedback from ISVs and be aware of areas for potential development. However, without data it can be difficult to know where to put your focus to gain the greatest return on investment. Surveying all of your ISV partners can help clarify your greatest area of ‘need’ or what differentiator you can best leverage to gain loyalty from your partners.

4. Measure Your Development

If there are specific ISV-related initiatives you plan to implement in the next year, surveying before and after the new effort can help track progress and ultimately determine whether the initiative has been successful. Conversely, if you haven’t seen the return from a new effort you would have liked, a survey can identify what barriers might be stalling growth.

5. Start Conversations. Increase Retention.

In many cases, once a partner has reached the point of terminating a contract, it’s already too late to salvage the relationship. Regularly assessing your ISVs and obtaining their feedback can help you identify problems before they become chronic. The results attained from a survey can also be used to start conversations with your partners. For example, let your ISV partners know you plan to devote more resources to prioritizing an issue they’ve helped detect, or what other actions and initiatives you plan to take to improve their experiences with your company. Invite them to participate in a broader conversation around their needs to deflect future retention.  

With the continued growth of integrated payments within software, merchant processors have significant opportunities to enhance their sales channels through meaningful partnerships with ISVs. However, the varied focus of many ISVs and what they want in a payment partner represent a significant challenge for processors – one that obtaining regular feedback can help address.

Are you looking to survey your ISVs or independently collect feedback from ISVs in the general market? TSG’s PaymentsPulse delivers actionable insights in an easy-to-digest format, so clients can make impactful decisions based on trusted data. Contact us today to discuss your goals.

Sources: TSG Internal Reports, Forbes, Piper Jaffray

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