Recognizing the Value of Customer Relationships

Posted by Steve Gilde on May 14, 2019

Generating revenue from customers is a fundamental aspect of any business. And while this is a very simple concept, there is so much more to building sustainable partnerships with your clients. History is littered with companies who had good people and great products, but who ultimately failed because they could not cultivate, manage and maintain a loyal client base. 

Too many start-ups focus only on the short-term, i.e. closing the next deal, collecting their money and then moving on. They are not really interested in working with their clients in partnership and building a relationship that delivers long-term value to both organizations. Sure, it takes time, resources and commitment, but the benefits go far beyond just the dollars. 

While we recognize that our customers pay the bills, we also understand that it is much easier to keep a good client than to continually search for new ones. We work with our customers as partners as we strive to deliver the highest quality products and services every single day. Delivering on our commitments and doing the right thing, even when it is hard have helped us build up a blue chip customer base that includes some of the most recognizable names in the business, including organizations that we have been working with for 15 or 20 years or more. 

By providing long-term value to our clients, these relationships provide significant benefit to Paragon:   

  • Stability and predictability to our financial models, allowing us to invest in our products and our people
  • Insight into where the market is going  
  • Helps optimize our processes and procedures 

The Past 25 Years

Think about all the things that have happened in the payments industry in the past 25 years. The following list is just a small sample: 

  • Electronic transactions of all kinds have been embraced by consumers 
  • The internet grew from less than 3,000 websites in 1994 to more than 1.6 billion today 
  • We all survived Y2K 
  • E-commerce exploded (The first internet transaction was done in 1994 - reportedly an order for pepperoni pizza with mushrooms and extra cheese from Pizza Hut.) 
  • EMV has rolled out across the globe 
  • Mobile everything has taken the world by storm 
  • FinTech became a thing 
  • Apple Pay was introduced (along with all the other Pays) 
  • Bitcoin hit the market  
  • Dodd-Frank changed the way financial services organizations operate 
  • Microsoft introduced Windows 95, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 10 

And while these have certainly been exciting times, they have also brought a significant amount of risk.  Many companies, especially small software developers like Paragon, have not survived. One advantage to having solid relationships with large clients is that in many cases they helped to shape and drive these industry changes. We were able to leverage our partnerships to understand where the market was headed, why a particular change was or was not important to our clients, when and where we needed to make our own investments, etc. We certainly feel fortunate that we did not have to navigate these dynamic times on our own. 

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” —John F. Kennedy

Not only did we get expert advice and guidance on the direction of the industry, we got help on improving our technology, our support and delivery process, our documentation. Each time we rolled through a major change; our customers provided feedback to help us get better. We have not always been perfect, but again that is an advantage of having strong partners and relationships. You work together to find solutions. 

As we start our second 25 years, it is important that we acknowledge and thank all our customers for their business. Those that have been with us for many years, as well as those who have just started their journey with us. We appreciate the opportunity to work with you and accept responsibility for providing you with the highest quality products and outstanding customer service. The pace of change within the payments industry will only continue to accelerate and you have our commitment to do everything that we can to help your business be successful.    

Topics: Payments Testing