Creating an Improved SaaS Customer Experience by Becoming A PF: Insights from WorkWave’s Journey, Part 2

Last week, we featured an introduction to field service software provider WorkWave, the first provider in their industry to become a payment facilitator. The company has created a positive payment experience for its customers with its WorkWave Payments solution, but getting to that point required overcoming significant challenges, adjusting to new requirements, and influencing the traditional payments industry to adopt a new way of thinking.

This week, we have the first of a two-part conversation with WorkWave CEO David F. Giannetto, where we talk more in depth about the factors that ultimately drove the company to choose the PF model. He also shares some of the issues the team faced and how the process changed the way they operate.

PaymentFacilitator: What did you take into consideration when WorkWave was deciding to become a payment facilitator?

WorkWave CEO David Giannetto: WorkWave’s journey to becoming a payment facilitator began with a very simple desire to make our customers happy and to deliver industry-leading technology – that’s what software companies want to do. We kept hitting roadblocks trying to pursue the typical software approach and eventually realized the only way to really do it was to become a payment facilitator. WorkWave is a very progressive thinking company, so doing something unprecedented, like becoming the first field service industry PF and giving our customers the advantages that would come with it, was both exciting and challenging. And it has definitely been both. Not only are we the first, but we’ve also done it in a way that might never have been done before. It’s brought significant cost savings to most of our customers, as well as empowered them to offer the best payments experience in the industry. We aren’t fully there but we are getting very close.

This can be a major competitive differentiator for service companies, and as consumers continue to demand convenience, now with COVID-19 driving a more remote experience, they have the ability to give customers exactly what they want. Since this was also a new endeavor for WorkWave, the company had to overcome expected challenges and meet the high standards for necessary certifications along the way to ensure that they are providing an efficient and secure platform.

PF: What changes did you have to make to the way you operated as a company when becoming a payment facilitator?

DG: WorkWave had all of the necessary components in it to become a PF: software developers, sales and service, legal and finance. But we lacked a deeper knowledge of payments itself and had to search to find the right payments expert that understood not just the traditional payments side, but how that fit into a software company, and one who could lead this initiative, not just functioning as an SME. That wasn’t an easy person to find, and we’ve ended up with a team built around it.

WorkWave has always had to have a focus on compliance, but being a PF comes with new risk management and regulatory requirements and we had to formally build those out for payments. We held mandatory, company-wide training to ensure every employee is aware of compliance guidelines and is empowered to ensure that the company is remaining compliant and secure when it comes to helping customers process their payments. We focused on developing processes that protected our customers’ money from risk.

PF: What challenges did you face when becoming a payment facilitator?

DG: If you are the first company doing something, it’s always more challenging. And starting the journey to become a PF two years ago was harder; the market wasn’t ready for it yet. We also decided to do it in a way that was unusual. We didn’t slowly build our customer base. We migrated our entire customer base into our PF to give them capabilities as soon as possible. That alone was mechanically challenging because it had never been done. Creating the entire payments “product,” plus the financial model and the service and support model was challenging, but we were a software company and knew how to tackle all of those things.

Where we had more challenges was with the deeper payments industry knowledge, and how to make sure our customers would have a great experience, and how we could achieve some of the more progressive goals we had. For that we had to really lean on our partners and some of them weren’t up to it. Some were just building their solutions and figuring it out for themselves – and some were more transparent about that than others. So where we had good partners we excelled, and where we had picked bad partners we had very serious challenges that took significant amounts of time and effort to overcome.

PF: What parts of becoming a payment facilitator do you want to highlight?

DG: We embarked on this journey to become a payment facilitator in order to better service our customers and help them run their businesses as efficiently and profitably as possible. You could say most software companies want that for their customers. But payment facilitation is still new, and the traditional payments industry is focused on the payment infrastructure and the movement of money, not both service and payments like WorkWave must be. While there was a significant learning curve for us to attain and maintain the right balance between those two things, we take particular pride in not having followed the traditional approach to create something unique, that will bring unique benefits to our customers.

Additionally, we are happy to see that, with the integration of WorkWave Payments, our customers are becoming more efficient and profitable. They are experiencing significant time savings in how they process payments, as opposed to the manual, time-consuming processes they had been using before. For the majority of our customers, the reduction in costs associated with payment processing has been a welcome shift from their previous payment processing experience. 90% of WorkWave customers are saving money with better rates and no additional fees.

But that is just the beginning. WorkWave Payments will actually allow us to influence nearly every industry that we focus on, in ways that those industries have never even considered before. WorkWave is the only company now capable of doing that. And we are truly proud of that.