Facilitating the Future of Field Services With Embedded Payments | Episode 14

Updated on October 27, 2021

When it comes to payments integration and how it can benefit SaaS companies looking to optimize their customer acquisition and retention, this quote sums it up:

“You have saved me so much time that I can focus on growing my business.”

How would you like to be the driving force behind giving your customers the one thing they can never get enough of? In this episode of PayFAQ: The Embedded Payments Podcast brought to you by Payrix, Host Bob Butler interviews Ryan Oakes, VP of Payments for FieldRoutes, about how payments integration has benefited the company and their customers.

Ryan has been in the fintech industry for more than 20 years, predominantly in product development and operations on the issuing and acquiring side with a heavy focus in the payment facilitation for several of our top industry leaders that include Global Payments, TSYS and ProPay.

FieldRoutes software is used by their customers for selling and onboarding their merchants, scheduling and performing services and customer support as needed. They have an amazing field service management software but the payment functionality was loosely integrated, so Ryan saw an opportunity to provide a superior product and customer experience by better integrating payments and a payment facilitator model into their platform.

Ryan explains how integrating payments into FieldRoutes cloud-based and mobile SaaS solution has enhanced their bottom line by helping their field service customers grow quickly, scale intelligently and increase revenue. Not to mention, how Payrix made this possible so effortlessly and efficiently.

He describes the Account Updater service provided by Payrix as an invaluable feature for FieldRoutes and their customers because of the weekly, monthly and quarterly basis of services. It automates customer payment information when previously, thousands of dollars in revenue were being lost due to out of date payment information.

Ryan speaks about the challenges that come with integrating the payment facilitator model, how to manage realistic expectations and how to reach the end goal of making payments understandable, easy to manage and transparent, which Payrix has made possible.

Lastly, FieldRoutes looks to be a registered payment facilitator in the next 24-36 months with the help of Payrix. The crawl, walk, run approach Payrix takes to payment facilitation was a factor in determining the best payments partner possible for their near and long-term goals.

  • Full Transcript

    Bob Butler

    Hi, everyone, welcome to PayFAQ, the embedded payments podcast brought to you by Payrix. I’m your host, Bob Butler. And today I’m going to be talking with Ryan Oakes, the VP of Payments for FieldRoutes about the value of integrating payments into their software. So hey, Ryan, welcome to the show.

    Ryan Oakes 

    Hi, Bob. Thanks for having me join the podcast.

    Bob Butler

    It’s great to have you here today. Can you tell the audience a little bit about yourself, tell us a little bit about FieldRoutes. And a little bit about your software and payments background?

    Ryan Oakes

    Sure. I’ll start with my background. I’ve been in the FinTech space for over 20 years now, and specifically in payments for about the last 16 years. I joined FieldRoutes about a year ago. And prior to that I was with Global Payments, TSYS and ProPay. Before that, my experience with those companies is mainly in product and operations both on the issuing side and the acquiring side with a heavy focus in payment facilitation. And speaking of payment facilitation. That is really what attracted me to join FieldRoutes. FieldRoutes has amazing software for field service companies such as pest control, lawn, and pool companies. But the payment functionality was loosely integrated. And I saw a real opportunity to provide a superior product and customer experience by better integrating payments and a payment facilitator model into FieldRoutes.

    Bob Butler

    Can you tell me a little bit more about how payments are integrated into the FieldRoutes ecosystems and maybe talk about some of the use cases?

    Ryan Oakes 

    FieldRoutes software is cloud based and mobile SaaS solution. And it’s used by our customers to do everything from selling and onboarding of their customers, to scheduling and performing services, and really any customer support needs that come up in between, of course, getting paid as a huge part of any business. So we wanted payments to be integrated into every workflow, maybe a couple experiences that come to mind. One specific that’s very popular with our field service companies is a web portal for their customers to log in and interact with the field service company. In this portal, the customer is able to keep stored payment information up to date approve payments after a service is completed. It also automates some customer communication, such as sending a receipt or a statement. And it’s added a self-service element that saves the field service companies time and helps them focus on more important things. Maybe another use case that comes to mind is our Account Updater service. Most of our field service companies are providing service on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis and providing access to the Account Updater service to keep their customers’ payment information up to date without having to call them when a card expires. It’s invaluable. And probably everyone listening to this podcast is familiar with the Account Updater service. But some interesting numbers specific to our customer base, we found that our typical field service company was experiencing over $5,000 in lost revenue annually just due to out-of-date card numbers or expiration dates. And just doing as simple as integrating the Account Updater service to every stored payment method they had on file took a previously manual process and automated and it was a meaningful win for our customers annual revenue.

    Bob Butler 

    Wow, that is huge. I remember when I first started talking to FieldRoutes that you were previously using a referral model and you chose to move to a Payfac-as-a-service model specifically at Payrix, the Payrix Pro model. Can you tell us a little bit about what led to that decision? And what specifically did Payrix offer and maybe some others didn’t offer, that might have been attractive to you?

    Ryan Oakes 

    Yeah, we worked with a few different referral partners over the years and ended up supporting several different integrations to various gateways. And because each of those gateways offer different features and functionality, it was difficult for us to provide a consistent user experience for payments. Also one of our goals was to provide top notch customer support. And when customers were calling in about payment issues, we had to send them off to this referral partner or that referral partner to get support and we didn’t like being out of the loop. And really all of that came to a head as we were planning out our product roadmap. And just a hypothetical example, if we wanted to support a card-present transaction as part of the FieldRoutes app, it just wasn’t feasible to do that with five or six different gateways and processors. So we knew we needed to consolidate to a single processing relationship and bring that customer support in house while we moved into the payment facilitator model. And we did talk to a few different technology partners that could help get us there. Payrix was one of them that we were talking to. And what ultimately helped us choose Payrix was Payrix allowed us to take a crawl, walk, run approach, and to take on more of the workload as we developed the capabilities or the employee expertise, and we could grow into it. Our goal really is to be a registered payment facilitator doing most of the workload in the next 24 to 36 months, and the payments platform is helping us accomplish that.

    Bob Butler 

    That’s great. I really appreciate that, Ryan. So thank you. We also know that FieldRoutes really cares a lot about customer experience. Through the process, where did you focus on to ensure that you were going about the decision to embed payments in the right way?

    Ryan Oakes 

    So I come from a product management background, I spent a big chunk of my career in product management. And if you’ve ever spent time with product people, you always hear about voice of the customer, or listening to your customers to find out what’s important to them, and how they use a particular product or service. You also hear of a user or customer experience. And it’s paramount that you get that right and at FieldRoutes, it’s a major focus for us. And with debit, credit card processing, ACH payments, they’re often considered confusing, difficult to manage and have hidden costs. Our goal was and is, to make payments understandable, easy to manage, and have straightforward pricing that’s transparent. I love talking with our field service companies and hearing the feedback on payments, that it just works. Or, you have saved me so much time that I can focus on growing my business. And when I hear those things from our customers, I know we’re doing something right.

    Bob Butler

    Now, that’s outstanding. I love to hear that. Also, I understand that quick integration was sort of key to a smooth transition of your existing merchant portfolio while you work on building out a custom solution. Can you tell us a little bit more about what you’re really working towards? And I think you may have touched on that in the previous answer.

    Ryan Oakes 

    Yeah, as we kicked off our payments project last year, we really didn’t want to take 12 to 24 months before we had any tangible or meaningful changes to make available to our field service companies. And we were able to integrate to Payrix and start our beta launch of our payments product in 60 days. And if you’ve ever done a payments processing integration, that’s fast. We were through that payments beta in about 60 days and officially launched it to all of our customers in January of this year. And a big part of that quick integration was being able to use the white-labeled merchant portal, not only as an internal customer support tool, but also for customer facing traditional gateway services, such as reporting. And since we launched, we’ve worked to pull a lot of that gateway reporting data into FieldRoutes so that we can report on it, match it up with other data in our platform, and add it to workflows, operational data, automate manual processes, and we’re not done there. We’ll continue working on that for a while. Something fun that we’re working on right now is a bank account reconciliation report specifically requested from our office managers and accountants. And this makes the bank account reconciliation process really simple. I got this much in my bank account today. These are the fees that I paid for payment processing. And these were the 15 customers that were scheduled to have services performed and I didn’t miss billing any of them, print that piece of paper out or save it as a PDF. And the bank reconciliation is done in two minutes. And I know it sounds small, but multiply that across a bank reconciliation every day of the week. And 1000s of field service companies doing these bank reconciliations daily or weekly, and it’s meaningful, and those are the type of just little things that we love to provide that makes interacting with the software and payments just easy.

    Bob Butler 

    That’s great. What are some of the advantages FieldRoutes has seen from embedded payments? And in what ways have your customers benefited from your solution?

    Ryan Oakes 

    So there are two questions there. I’ll take the second one first. In what ways have our customers benefited from our solution? At FieldRoutes, we talk a lot about helping our customers grow quickly, scale intelligently, how to cut costs, and increase revenue. And since we’ve launched our payments product, we’ve built out new features that focus specifically on those things. And maybe just a few examples come to mind, one of the first things we did because it was easy to do during the integration process was support level two data for business cards. And that’s an easy way just to reduce processing costs of business card transactions. We’ve also automated what we call internally, an auto batching process. And that’s a process where an office manager logs into the software at the end of the day, and manually closed out all the services that were performed, and charges the payment methods on file. And we automated that because it was easy to do. I talked previously about the Account Updater service and what a value that was. We also provided tools to help manage and automate any chargebacks or ACH return issues, things that are typically very challenging to deal with, and really anything else that we could automate for previously manual processes we’ve done. We’ve received really good positive feedback so far. And we’re excited for all that’s coming down the road. So to question number one, what are some of the advantages of FieldRoutes as seen from embedded payments? Really, we’re providing a far superior payments product compared to what we were able to provide before, and our existing customers are noticing. And they’re happy with the investment that we have, and we are making. And field service companies working with competitors are noticing. And so, we’re winning in the market. And we like that.

    Bob Butler 

    That’s great Ryan, with your breadth of experience in payments and software, you’re really familiar with payment integrations and how they work. Can you share any insights, best practices, or gotchas that newcomers, especially software companies, SaaS businesses, that are just jumping into embedded payments? What they should be looking for?

    Ryan Oakes 

    The first thing that comes to mind, and there’s not a lot of detail around this, but it always takes longer than you want it to. It just does. We were able to do it pretty quickly, but even we want it to move faster. Second thought, with payment facilitation, which at a high level is essentially deeply embedding payments into a software product, you’re really building a payments company within existing software in existing software company. Something I think is really important to do it right is, don’t try to do this without someone who has significant payments experience, there’s just a lot of ins and outs of payments. And it just helps to have somebody that knows payments inside and out. And speaking of that, it takes teamwork, I’m really lucky to have a CEO, a Head of Product, and a Head of Marketing that have backgrounds in payments. And they get to help out too, and kind of round out everything that we’re doing. Those are two thoughts, maybe the last one that I have. Unfortunately, due to the nature of how the payments industry has worked over the years, sometimes businesses and business owners can be skeptical of why you’re doing this with payments or why you’re integrating it that way. And when we took our solution to market, we saw some of that skepticism come out of our customers. And we really are trying to do the right thing by providing additional value to our customers. And we really do want to eliminate manual and tedious processes. We want to find them ways to save money, we want to find ways to make the experience easier for them, because ultimately, it’s about helping them grow.

    Bob Butler 

    Ryan, I really appreciate you being here today. I mean, are there any final thoughts you want to leave the audience?

    Ryan Oaks 

    In the last 12 months, it’s been a whirlwind as we have partnered and integrated with Payrix and launched our payments product and work to build out all these features that we’ve touched on today. And really, it’s always great to work with nice people that care about doing the right thing. So, I really appreciate the partnership with Payrix. And spending time with you on today’s podcast.

    Bob Butler

    Ryan, that really means a lot. So, thank you for being on the show. I know we’re both big believers in sharing knowledge and experience. So, I appreciate you joining me here today. We want to be a trusted resource for software providers like FieldRoutes who are out there trying to make sense of embedded payments and PayFac and to help them get the education they need to make the business decisions their customers and their investors will thank them for. This has been Bob Butler, and thank you for joining us on the PayFAQ embedded payments podcast brought to you by Payrix. For more information about embedded payments, subscribe to our show at Payrix.com/podcast.

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