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Faye Hall | Customer Engagement Manager, FIS
June 24, 2020
If you ever need to drill, fix, stick or anchor something, then you can rely on Etag Fixings to have the right solution for you and your business.
Originally based in Ireland, the company moved to England during the post-2008 recession in search of fresh business and saw the opportunities that London offered. “We looked up and counted the cranes,” says Shirley Bowman, general manager. Even in those lean years there were plenty of construction projects in the capital, which is how Etag came to set up camp in Bermondsey before moving on to larger premises in Dagenham, East London. Etag's policy of providing whatever its customers ask for – whether it’s on its product list or not – has attracted a large and loyal customer base in the fixing, construction and industrial markets.
Originally from Liverpool, Shirley has been with Etag for 15 years, five in Ireland and 10 in the UK. “There’s a great team spirit here and we look after each other,” she says. So it’s not surprising that the company acted swiftly to protect staff and customers when the threat of the COVID-19 outbreak began to surface in the UK, asking staff to work from home even prior to the lockdown.
But with the UK government supporting ongoing construction activity, Etag Fixings had a vital role to play in the supply chain by providing customers with the products they needed. To minimize face-to-face contact, Etag closed its trade counter and asked customers to place orders in advance and then pick them up from the warehouse.
Worldpay went the extra mile for us to keep the cash flowing”
One of the unexpected consequences of the crisis was that Etag actually acquired a lot of new customers because some competitors closed their doors altogether. But setting up accounts for them would be a time-consuming business. And with cash flow key to getting the company through the pandemic, pre-payment, rather than credit, was an essential part of Etag’s survival strategy. This meant taking more card payments which needed to be taken over the phone. And there lay a logistical problem.
“When we were all based in the office it was easy for the team to take payments by sharing a single terminal,” recalls Shirley. “But when we worked from home, the only option was to phone the warehouse crew and ask someone to pop up to the office, talking them through how to process the payment.”
Relying on the goodwill of an increasingly bare skeleton staff didn’t feel like a sustainable answer to the problem. So Shirley got in touch with Worldpay, who leapt into action to provide Etag with a Virtual Terminal solution. The Virtual Terminal allows the team to take payments over the phone by entering card details via the internet using their own computer at home. No physical terminal is needed and each team member can have their own user account, ensuring that the transaction is secure.
“Worldpay made it really easy for us. Trying to operate from home is difficult enough for us but he even made the paperwork simple. What’s particularly impressive is that he did all this for us while he was technically on holiday for two weeks. Talk about going the extra mile.”
Worldpay also set Etag up with Pay by Link. “We can email customers with an invoice containing a payment link which they click on to settle the invoice with a card. This eliminates the need for us to take those payments over the phone,” says Shirley.
It has, she says, made Etag’s decision to carry on operating through the crisis a viable one. “When construction sites began to shut down, as many now have, our business shrank by about 75 percent, but we believe we’ve found the best way through it. Like everyone, we’re taking each day as it comes, one day at a time. We have flexibility and a great team of people on our side. And the arrival of new customers has been an unexpected bonus, so we’ll do everything we can to keep them once we’re all out the other side of this.”
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