Do you really want customers?
The shop owner answer
Today I wanted to try a new take away. I entered in, and as I didn’t see a card reader, I asked the vendor if it was possible to pay with cards. No. That was the answer, not a word more. Okay, then I’ll give my money to some huge takeaway restaurant instead of the local one. Not because the food is better, just because there I can pay. I know that for a small business credit or debit cards are a problem. There are fees that the shop owner has to pay to be able to use them. And there is even a commission on each transaction. I’m sorry to say it, but that’s not my problem. It’s not the customer problem. There are plenty of smart ways to solve this problem. The first obvious solution to this problem is to increase the price of a few cents. So between the mix of people paying cash and the people paying with a card the few extra cents help you pay the fees. And for most businesses it’s not a few cents that will make a difference. If fewer people transport cash with them, you are a fool not to have a card reader. Switzerland is a country where people usually paid with cash. But I see the new working generation carrying only their credit card. They don't like wallets full of money. That is the digital native generation. Survey tend to show that this trend is not only by the new generation but also for older people.
It's your problem
We can generalize this lesson. Customers don’t care about the problems of the business owner. They just want a great experience. Often, customers set as the minimal viable experience what they live in supermarkets. Small business has to be at least as good as the supermarket in their service. But still small business should also have a differentiator. Small businesses should give something more, or less. Something more than what customers could find in bigger shops.
How to solve a problem that shouldn't exist
If a business owners still doesn’t want to have a credit card reader, then he should at least make the experience less awful. There simple tricks to do that. First, do not follow the example that I lived. Do not only answer «no». Say to customers «Hey sorry we don’t have one, but there is an ATM just around the street». Show that it’s your problem, that it’s your fault. And finally also show that you care about the customer. Help the customer. Give him information to help him achieve his goal. Use this moment as a chance. You could also give a voucher to this person. «Hey, come back later when you have some money, and the first drink will be one us.» That’s how you make a problem an opportunity. But still, the easiest way to go would be just to solve the problem at the beginning. So you would not have to find creative solutions like the one above.