Meet ShawnShawn Johnson spent 12 years working in the payment processing industry where he observed firsthand the disadvantages businesses face when setting up their point of sale systems. Payment processing companies trap businesses into paying high rates and long-term contracts because they serve their shareholders, not their customers. “They have it down to a science,” he says.
Shawn once received a phone call from a frustrated business owner who had just gotten off the phone with his bank.
“He said, ‘I need a credit card terminal, they said it could take over a week,’” Shawn recalls. “I said, ‘You’re close, I’ll come down there. Can you meet in ten minutes?’” Shawn met the business owner, walked him through how the terminal works, and had the business back up and running right away. That’s the difference when working with someone who lives in his community and can be reached directly, he says.
That’s just one example of how Shawn is no ordinary merchant services provider. Instead, he’s the person you call when you want to save money on your point of sale machine and want to work with someone you have a real relationship with.
“My commitment to my clients is that they get taken care of,” That commitment is fueled by years of not being able to be that person for clients, as much as he wanted to be. One particular thing kept happening over and over when Shawn working for Canada’s top bank-affiliated processing companies: he would set up a client with the solution they needed, at a fair and affordable rate. Then, a year after customers signed up for their services, the processing company would “Price Lift” his client’s rates. Shawn’s clients were frustrated, and so was he — but his hands were tied as banks automatically transferred clients after one year to a new account representative in Toronto and mandated a revenue increase.
“They wouldn’t call the client to tell them that the price was going up,” Shawn said. Instead, the price increase would be buried within their monthly statements, which he knew most clients didn’t understand properly or even bother to read.
“That’s how merchant fees get away from clients.”
A New Way to do ThingsShawn took that financial services experience — and those frustrations — and used it to do things differently. At Merchant Services Consultants, clients can rent, lease, or purchase state-of-the-art equipment that will automate their operations and save them money, at a price that’s fair and transparent.
“My core values are such that I don’t take advantage of people and i think clients really respect that,” Shawn says.
The merchant equipment might be high-tech, but Shawn’s customer service philosophy is old school. He thinks it’s strange that most of us don’t have a personal relationship with their merchant service providers, and he wants to change that.
“I don’t want to be your one-year guy. I want to be your forever guy. I see a greater vision for merchant services than what it is for many business owners right now,” Shawn says.
He foresees the future of the industry operating with total transparency for its merchants and their functional costs, but more importantly: entrepreneurial service providers that operate with integrity and honesty – rather than major corporations monopolizing the market.
His goal is to be saved in your phone’s contacts as “Merchant Services Expert,” just as you’d have entries like “Plumber” or “Dentist” for those preferred service providers. Why shouldn’t you have his cell phone number, he says, along with the knowledge that he wants you to reach out directly if you need his help?
“I like to think that I bring integrity, I bring education, a little bit of fun, and a whole lot of connection!” Shawn says.
The Personal TouchThat connection starts with a conversation. Shawn will meet with you in person to talk about your business needs, explaining what he does and learning about what you do.
He also offers a unique service, he goes through your processing statements with no obligation on your part, and often finds a way to save your business money. In the past, Shawn has helped businesses save thousands of dollars all the way up to $100k with just this information, provided within days of the meeting.
“It’s a great feeling,” he says.
He focuses on giving customers the best rate he can, but he also wants them to understand how the equipment works and how it can save them both time and money.
“My biggest thing is I just want to educate people and empower them so they can make the choice for themselves,” Shawn says.
It all adds up to one thing, he says: a business relationship built on trust, transparency, and mutual respect.
Shawn’s favourite part of the job is seeing clients react when they learn how much money they can save. “I like to see people save money. I like to be the person who sends a family on vacation from saving thousands of dollars in credit card fees.”