3 Signals That Your Business Partnerships Aren’t Working

The first indications your partners are standing in the way of business growth will come from your customers. Here’s how to form smarter alliances.

The success of your development business depends on strategic business partnerships. On the other hand, unfortunately, some partnerships can be detrimental to your business. There are signs that a partnership isn’t working, says Chris Yurko, Director of Business Development at First American Payment Systems, and the first indications will come from your customers.

“You will know it’s time to end a partnership by the feedback you get from your clients. Technology will fail, and clients will be frustrated with the quality of support. If they don’t receive the service they need, they won’t be happy,” Yurko explains. “You’ll see attrition because it all reflects on the ISV.”

He says the majority of First American’s new ISV partners have come to them after a bad experience with another payment provider. “One switched because their customers were telling them hold time for the partner’s call center was 8 to 10 minutes. A small business owner can’t be on hold that long,” says Yurko, contrasting that level of service with the 39-second average hold time at First American. “You are choosing a partner to provide better experiences for your customers,” says Yurko. “You want the best technology, but technology only opens the door. Once you’re through, there’s a lot more to a partnership.”

What are Your Customers Saying about Your Partners?

To make sure your partnerships are beneficial to your business, pay attention to the feedback you receive from your customers about their interactions with your partners, especially in these three areas:

  1. Support. Your clients should tell you your partner has a knowledgeable, responsive 24/7 call center. Yurko says your customers will receive better service if call center technicians can understand the difference between a payments question and an ISV question. “First American demos software so we can answer those questions,” says Yurko. “This really helps ISVs with smaller teams from having to take extra calls if we can answer the customer’s questions.”
  2. Onboarding process. Clients should report that the onboarding process with your partner was smooth and efficient. Your partner should take a hands-on approach and give your clients the personalized attention they need for a successful deployment.
  3. Hassle-free integrations. You shouldn’t be getting feedback from your customers that solutions don’t work. Your partners should fully participate in the certification process to make sure the integration is successful — even before beta — so your customers always experience the solution at its best. Your partner should not be willing to release a solution that hasn’t been fully certified and tested.
Ask the Right Questions, Upfront

Of course, you don’t want a business partner that doesn’t make customer experiences or your business growth a priority. To avoid this situation, Yurko says to dig deeper when talking to potential partners.

Chris Yurko,
Director of Business Development,
First American Payment Systems

“Have the vendor paint a picture of what the partnership is going to look like,” says Yurko. “Ask, ‘How have you helped your clients grow?’” He suggests requesting case studies of how the company has helped other ISVs and the resources they have in place to support integrations and software development. Talk about plans you have for your products and ask if the partner is willing to help develop a roadmap to help you reach your goals.

Yurko says understanding the support the potential partner is willing to offer your business is especially important for startups, which can be somewhat overlooked. “Make sure they aren’t just throwing revenue at you to have an additional integration,” he says. “Make sure they are really invested in your growth.”

With a payment processing partner, Yurko says to also ask about steps the partner has taken to streamline and automate processes and reporting — value-adds that will save you and your clients time and money.

“Ask questions, and if you have concerns, be smart enough to ask more questions,” says Yurko. “If they can’t answer your questions, they aren’t the right partner.”

“You will know if they genuinely care about what you’re doing and, ultimately, if their goal is to keep your clients happy,” he says.