Michael Purcell uses education to win customers at Global Cash Card Featured

8:00pm EDT October 6, 2010
Michael Purcell, co-founder, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Global Cash Card Michael Purcell, co-founder, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Global Cash Card

At an American Payroll Association reception, Michael Purcell heard someone gushing about a competitor’s paycard.

Purcell, co-founder, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Global Cash Card, stepped in. His company offered the same, convenient paperless payroll services.  And he could do one better — show a live demonstration of it.

Product education is the key to initiating long term customer relationships, even before purchase. That differentiates Global, which has seen monthly growth as sharp as 35 percent in its 10 years.

“That’s why we’re growing and taking the market … because we are out there to educate people and make them understand it and make them like not only the card but like our service,” says Purcell, who has about 153 employees.

Smart Business spoke with Purcell about building customer relationships with education.

Where’s the line between educating about your industry and advertising for your company?

We do it hand in hand. (Understanding) happens as they see a demo of our system. They see how it works. The perfect way to understand what we do is see a demo of our system, where all our competitors show you a PowerPoint. When you see a demo of our system, you can see how easy it is, how it works, and you get a greater understanding of how paycards work.

In the masses, I think everyone’s understanding and knowing what a paycard is. They’re just looking to find where these companies are. And that’s our greatest challenge right now: letting them know that Global Cash Card exists.

If we get the chance to do a demonstration of our system, we probably win the customer eight out of 10 times. It’s really tough to buy a car without touching, feeling it, taking it for a ride. For most people, touchy-feely is really the best way to show someone what the product’s really like.

How do you educate clients after they sign up?

We have an implementation team that actually goes around to the [client] companies to implement the cards, get people signed up — which is really key because just signing on a client and saying, ‘Oh, we got this customer,’ you only get 400 cards out with them, you really don’t make money. See, the way we make money is on volume. When people use the card as a signature, we get paid the interchange from Visa or Mastercard.

They will educate them on the card on how not to get charges. They sign the people up that way. If you just put a check-stuffer in their check, they’re probably not going to sign up because people hate change. But we’ve found it to be very successful to send out the implementation teams so you can see who we are, get who we are, know that the company that you work for is backing this.

We also have a small tutorial [on] how to use an ATM so you don’t get charged with checking your balance. They educate them on the fact that Global Cash Card won’t charge them to talk to a live customer service rep. Some of our competitors will say, ‘Well, if you talk to a customer service rep, it’s $2,’ which is absolutely ridiculous.

They also educate them as to have a breakdown of the savings a paycard does versus a live check.

Once in a blue [moon], we’ll bring up some people who have already gone with the paycard in the company and let people know, ‘Hey, this has been great for me and here’s why.’

That’s the key. If we don’t do a good job in them liking the card, us, they’re going to … complain. They’re going to say, ‘Hey, we don’t want this.’

What’s the key to customer service?

We do our own customer service in-house. Some of our competitors go to a third party; most of them are not in the country. We’re based out of Irvine; the customer service here costs a lot of money. We just feel it’s completely necessary because it’s people’s money. The most important thing to them is their money. People … really need an answer to their questions immediately. … Believe me, I’d love to cut costs, but it’s too valuable.

We do have the best system and technology in the industry. We have our thing, which is: Systems and service equals easy — the formula for paycard success. You hear some nightmares with companies that have went with other paycard providers. … We just want them to have a long-term relationship with us and we know that if they’ve got 30,000 of their employees on our card and their employees are happy, they’re not going to make the change.

Our president is in the middle of customer service. He can come sit with me in the corporate side and he doesn’t want to. He knows it’s a financial product and he knows people want answers immediately and they want decisions made. They don’t want to wait for someone in India to call someone else and for that person to not really be available if they have those kinds of questions.

We’re open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And (our reps) know that without customer service, there is no growth, there’s no job security. They see that customers can be snatched up. They go through a really grueling three-week program with our product, how it works, our system, calls. We really strive to have people understand that it’s a relationship that you are trying to build with them.

They give (clients) their cell phone numbers. They say, ‘Look, if you have a question … call us.’ So it’s all relationship building. We are dedicated with weekly calls — or in some cases, there’ll be biweekly calls with them. We just don’t hand you a piece of plastic and you’re on your way. We’re with you at your hip every step of the way.

How to reach: Global Cash Card, (888) 220-4477, ext. 210 or www.globalcashcard.com