People come to parks to relax and have fun and the staff everywhere is dedicated to making that happen. That doesn’t mean everything is free, which means some kind of payment collection is necessary.
That’s where things can sometimes take a turn into not-so-fun land. For Kelsy Maxie, Guest Service Manager, at Frisco Adventure Park, CO, and a Vermont Systems RecTrac user since 2016, that sharp turn happened when COVID hit in 2020 and everything shut down.
“I had to process a hundred thousand dollars worth of tubing refunds, and I did all of it from my house on my laptop,” she remembers. “Customers weren't getting refunds for 14 business days and I couldn't track things down. Obviously, that reflected poorly on us. I started getting frustrated and so I researched what it would take to switch to a different third party, but the benefit wasn't there.” Things didn’t really improve, but they carried on for a while.
“Then this fall, there were a couple of issues, right in a row that absolutely crushed us,” she recalls. “It probably took about 40 hours of my time personally, to get some of the finances figured out from these online snafus that were happening with credit cards. And I literally had just had it.” Fortunately, she was working with Mike Cianci from Vermont Systems on other aspects of their organization. “He said ‘Hey, Kelsy, PayTrac is going to happen. I think you're going to be a really good candidate for it. I'll let you know when it's a reality.’”
She waited and when the time was right, Kelsy and the rest of the team at Frisco Adventure Park were ready to make the switch. There was a lot to do in the transition but definitely worth it in Kelsy’s eyes. “We've been switched over for two months (as of May 2021) and I have no regrets.”
Better Communication with Vermont-friendly Support
Having a single source for payment facilitation and support has been key for the team, says Kelsy, as diplomatically as possible. “Without really hating on any specific third party, I will say that PayTrac was the best option for us to have better communication and more fluid operations between our credit card processing and RecTrac.” With her previous provider, questions and inconsistencies could swirl in the middle with one side pointing the finger at the other and nothing getting resolved. “We had a ton of issues, not only internally and getting things to balance with our finance department, but also working with our guests, getting them refunds properly.” With the third party, they were using it was difficult to get someone with knowledge of their organization so she’d turn to a company that did. “I would reach out to Vermont Systems and they'd say, ‘Hey, I'm really sorry. That sounds awful, but that's not something we can fix.’ Moving to PayTrac was a way to get that good communication: you know they're going to respond, you know they're going to help you and get the problem solved.”
Getting Up to Speed
With any change and a new system, it’s best to work through things as thoroughly as possible to make sure the connections and processes are in place. That’s even more important when you’re dealing with electronic funds and a government entity. “There were a lot of things I had to get approved by other people,” Kelsy said. “But once everything was approved from our end and all of the devices were ordered, it was honestly a pretty quick process. The biggest thing was getting all the devices organized, which was something I had to do on my end.” From there the process steamed forward. “After the initail meetings, we did one day of set up and then the next week we did implementation and it was pretty quick and quite seamless to transfer over. I would say ultimately without all of the backend work, it was about two weeks to completely switch everything over. We ordered 30 credit card devices and switched five locations over. And I would say, I thought there would be a lot more hiccups than there actually were.”
“Everybody was really excited for the better aspect of communications. You don't tend to talk to the people who process your credit cards unless you're having an issue,” says Kelsy. That makes the response time when there are problems and knowing the person who you can ask for very important. Instead of just calling an 800 number and waiting on hold for however long, five minutes, 30 minutes, an hour and a half to talk to a person that has no idea what you're talking about, they have one call to Vermont systems. “The implementation team has made themselves very available. Whenever I've had an issue, which has been very, very few comparatively, they're super responsive. They seem to truly care about the issue. Our team has been very excited about that because everybody had their fair share of issues with our third party and was frustrated with the lack of response and problem-solving.”
Beyond the Expected
Getting payments and refund transactions in order was the first step. Having one call for everything related to payments was a massive improvement. But beyond that, Vermont Systems RecTrac continues to enable the Frisco Adventure Park to increase the services and improve the experiences to an advanced level one might not expect in a “smaller mountain town.”