How would you describe your organization’s relationship with its Commercial Card provider? I have asked this question of end-users in the past and received diverse responses ranging from frustrated venting to glowing reports. Wherever you are at, a stellar relationship with the card provider is an important part of achieving and maintaining program success, while a poor relationship can drag it down. If you already have a service level agreement (SLA) with your provider, ensure you are using it regularly to evaluate their performance. Either way, following are questions to help you identify what is working well and what needs improvement.
Does your card provider:
- Express interest and a willingness to be an active part of your program? For example, are they willing to come onsite to meet with management, demonstrate technology, etc.?
- Return/acknowledge calls and emails in a timely manner (e.g., within a day or two)?
- Take appropriate action to resolve issues and get answers?
- Listen to what you say? For instance, listening attentively to learn more about your unique needs.
- Proactively communicate about upcoming changes that affect you, current issues, industry trends, etc.?
- Inform you about technology features and reports that could benefit your program?
- Suggest ways to make your program and payment strategy stronger?
- Offer program reviews and supplier on-boarding services?
What are your biggest frustrations? Schedule time with them to discuss your evaluation. They cannot fix something if they don’t know it is broken. Any such meetings should result in a clear action plan to which both parties agree.
Are You a Good Customer?
Even if your card provider has room for improvement in the customer service category, the other piece of the equation is your organization. Consider the following questions to determine how you rate as a customer.
Does your organization:
- Have realistic expectations of the provider?
- Clearly communicate any concerns?
- Return calls and emails in a timely manner?
- Take advantage of the offered technology, including self-service features?
- Ask the provider how you can be a better customer?
A good provider/end-user relationship pays off. In the end, though, sometimes an organization just does not mesh well with a particular provider representative. You might need to try to a new/different relationship manager before you give up on the provider entirely.
See also information about the request for proposal (RFP) process. If you plan to attend the NAPCP Commercial Card and Payment Conference next month (unfortunately, I will miss it this year), maximize your experience by meeting different providers.
About the Author
Blog post author Lynn Larson, CPCP, is the founder of Recharged Education. With 20 years of Commercial Card experience, her mission is to make industry education readily accessible to all. Learn more…
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