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Faye Hall | Customer Engagement Manager, FIS
June 12, 2020
Does every cloud really have a silver lining? The COVID-19 pandemic is some cloud. But once it has passed, at least one thing will be better than before for the Hallgarten & Novum Wines team – the way they take telephone payments. As linings go, it may not count as silver, but any process made faster, easier and more efficient is always likely to be welcome to any business.
Laura is one of the credit controllers for Hallgarten & Novum Wines, based in Luton, Bedfordshire. One of the UK’s leading specialist wine merchants, Hallgarten has been importing wines from producers around the world for 80 years. It supplies both on-trade (restaurants, etc.) and off-trade (supermarkets, off-licenses ), and boast awards including New World Merchant of the Year, European Merchant of the Year, IWSC Wine Importer of the Year and – on no fewer than three occasions – International Wine Challenge Wine List of the Year Award.
The impact of COVID-19 was swift and significant. Although demand from supermarkets increased, about three-quarters of Hallgarten’s business is on-trade, so when restaurants were forced to close under government guidelines, the business impact was swift.
Not only did orders suffer but there was an increase in unpaid invoices that needed to be chased by the Credit Control team, meaning taking more payments over the phone than previously, which presented a challenge.
“In the office, we had one card payment machine which the team shared to take phone payments, which wasn’t a feasible option when the team were working from their own homes,” Laura recalls.
Laura called Worldpay to discuss options.
Worldpay’s solution was to provide Hallgarten & Novum Wines with a virtual terminal service which would allow the team to accept card payments over the phone by entering the card details via the internet using their own computer at home.
I wish we’d done this years ago!”
Worldpay set up the necessary paperwork for signature and before long the virtual terminal service was up and running. It took Laura just an hour or so to set up access to the virtual terminal for everyone in the team who needed to take payments and the job was done. Because the system is so intuitive, the amount of guidance needed to teach people how to use it was negligible.
“The Virtual Terminal is a fast and easy way to take payments. If you add the customer’s email address, it will even send a receipt – something that we had to do manually as an extra task when using the machine. And for the first time, two or more people can be taking a payment at the same time. It’s a vast improvement. Not only is it absolutely vital while we are all working in separate locations, but it’s going to make life a whole lot easier when we’re back in the office too.”
Virtual Terminal has also reduced the amount of admin involved in records, reporting and reconciliations.
“And to cap it all, there’s really not much difference, cost-wise,” says Laura. “I wish we’d done this years ago!”
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