Do The Dip With Your Credit Card Chip
How are you doing with taking credit cards at your gym or studio these days? The term is “dip”; you dip your chip card to pay now. That is, of course, if your gym is using the EMV chip card slot on the merchant terminal, rather than still swiping the magnetic strip. As a quick reminder, magnetic strips are “bad” because they carry your account number and information in the open, for anyone to read.
And that is what criminals have been doing; they are reading the unscrambled account information on magnetic strips to make counterfeit copies and make fraudulent purchases. The chip puts a stop to all of that, assuming that you use it consistently. Don’t forget, if you do accept a card payment that turns out to be fraudulent, you might end up carrying the bill if you swiped the card rather than dipped it.
Payment Variety Give Security By Diversity
The options for taking payments continue to increase. Tap-to-pay solutions may become a more predominant form of payment in the next few years. Now you can use the chip or make online payments through shopping cart services or PayPal, but I have yet to meet any owners taking membership payments on cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.
In this day and age it pays to have multiple payment channels so that, if one of them is compromised in some way, you still have a backup that most customers are familiar with already. As far as I can tell, we are still using cards or cash mostly, and about half of all retailers are utilizing chip readers.
So, card members are going to be dipping for a long time to come. That presents an opportunity I think. It is something I’m still working on, but I have this gut instinct that there is a way to make transactions into better experiences and create an opportunity to make more sales or your relationships with the customers.
Turn The Dip Into Customer Engagement Opportunity
Engaging customers during sales is a talent that some employees have naturally. Other employees may not do these things but, if you coach them and make it clear that you expect them to do it as part of the service, they will make a good faith effort to comply usually.
If you use a chip reader in your gym’s payment terminal, or you encounter them occasionally, the one thing that you notice is that awkward moment when you are waiting for confirmation of approval. The cashier is waiting, and the customer is too, looking down at the terminal.
The Chip Dip Learning Curve
The experience does seem to get better; it is going through a learning curve for everyone right now. First, it’s the lost stage where the customer expects you to swipe as before, fumbles with the chip reader slot and goes silent during the transaction. Then, when cashiers get comfortable using the new system, they get into a routine and gently talk customers through the process, (I love it when staffers do this well). The final stage is when customers get it and don’t focus so intently on the chip reader terminal, where a little sales talk could go a long way. Just asking an open question can be a great way to keep the moment upbeat.
That awkward moment flies past when you have a positive relationship going. Customers should be happy that they are dipping their cards now, and you should be looking for ways to turn the awkward moments during the transaction into an opportunity to sell or reinforce the relationship that you are building with them.
Opportunities To Build Relationships
The point here, of course, is that it is long past time to have your terminals updated and a policy in place to take chip card payments by doing the dip and not run the strip at all. It doesn’t have to be a difficult or awkward experience; your staff should apply some customer service finesse and even be looking for ways of making the transaction experience fun that gives you a small chance of raising the value of your sales and your relationship with your customers.
Fagan, Lawrence. Credit Card Liability And You. May 22, 2015. https://blog.gyminsight.com/3361-credit-card-liability-and-you/ (accessed April 30, 2016).
—. Experience Is Everything. June 5, 2014. https://blog.gyminsight.com/2699-experience-is-everything/ (accessed May 27, 2015).
Tepper, Taylor. 3 Things to Know Now About Your New Chip Credit Cards. April 7, 2016. http://time.com/money/4276372/emv-credit-card-mastercard-visa/ (accessed April 30, 2016).