People of WePay: Bill Uva, Head of Technical Account Management
What makes you passionate about helping our customers and your role at WePay?
The success of our partners and their customers is of the utmost importance to me. My background as an Eagle Scout and the altruistic projects I've worked on have shaped my beliefs and behaviors. I have always possessed a helpful spirit and it has shown in the support related roles that I've gravitated to over the course of my professional career. Knowing that I'm helping to solve painful experiences, seeing the new enhancements and functionality that our product brings and the new solutions we can provide, it's exciting!
Many companies claim to provide excellent customer support, but few deliver it. From your experience, what makes customer service truly exceptional?
Effective and successful companies are customer intimate. They understand where their customers are coming from and know what their stakeholders are trying to accomplish. Understanding these items is key because it gives you the ability to speak to customers as a trusted resource and friend rather than just some business partner. Since payments move very fast, you need to have a sense of urgency, follow-up, and attention to detail.
I work hard to understand the customer that I am working with, who they are and what they're trying to achieve. It's that human relationship that helps me to quickly get to the core of the problem, throw off the trappings and speak plainly about what's going on and how the support team can solve the task at hand.
Technical account managers require extensive product knowledge and expertise. Can you expound on the technical aspect of your role?
WePay gives our customers the ability to truly customize their users payment experience without the risk, regulatory and operational overhead associated. Everyday, we act as consultants and points of escalation, internally and externally.
In our role, we need to understand the intricacies of the product. We see a number of variations in how partners can choose to leverage our product, using the same calls but with different parameter settings. We need to understand what those calls mean, how they interact, and what potential pitfalls come with using them. Are there geographical concerns if you're looking to expand into Canada of the UK? If so what are they? How do things work differently, what extra information do we need to gather, what does a platform need to expose to their merchant base before they signup?
Our team is expected to speak strategically about the product during platform calls and we can't do that well if we don't have a solid foundational understanding, or knowledge of the latest and greatest.
What character trait does it take to be a successful manager, leader, and relationship builder?
I wouldn’t say that there is a specific character trait, but there are a number of important ones. As a leader, you need to be an organized, trusted source. You also need to be comfortable speaking to what areas need improvement. Having honest conversations is an important role for any leader. The only way to move forward, is to establish a culture of honesty and transparency.
As a relationship builder, it is critical to set common goals with those you need relationships with. Especially other departments that you will be working extensively with. It's important to see others as people, as trusted friends even. You need to push past just business conversations and establish meaningful connections. In the long run, it sets you up to have honest conversations, even difficult ones, that once past can really set the team, and overall organization, up for long term success.
What is the biggest pitfall that you see for businesses in the payments industry?
I think that the potential lack of experience for platforms new to payments is a prevalent pitfall. Partners that are looking to offer a payment solution may not have the big picture about what that entails. They may have a concept or idea, but don’t know what they don't know. From a technical standpoint, developing the solution is actually pretty straightforward. It's what comes after that often creates the challenge.
It's critically important to think through what the post-launch experience looks like and how you're going to support that. When it comes to money, your customers want it yesterday. Being able to answer front-line questions using a deep knowledge-base and tools that plug into our API calls is an important part of that equation.
A common stumbling block is not building out that support structure or interface that allows their support team to make informed and educated decisions. Not having a full understanding of risk, what that means to merchants and what they need to be protected from. Being able to answer those is very important. Really, that will make or break the payments experience. It can really differentiate you from your competition and be a key driving factor to adoption.
What trends do you foresee in the payments industry?
I think that the concept of platform payments will continue to grow. These platforms, in many ways are like life rafts that offer a number of different solutions for small businesses. The obvious next step is to offer that payments experience.
As a platform payments enabler we have the opportunity to help them monetize this experience while also giving them the chance to provide a robust payment option that bolsters their existing business tools or crowdfunding functionality. Some large and more traditional institutions like banks will probably feel challenged by all that has been happening in the payments space. I think that they will be scrambling through acquisitions, but will end up ill-equipped to respond in an agile manner to what market needs are. Payment facilitators will have a much stronger footing.
Can you share about a meaningful experience when you felt proud to support the success of an account?
Every day I feel very proud of the work that the team does at WePay. We do a number of things behind the scenes, acting as unseen watchdogs that guard against unidentified threats. We also have interesting technical conversations with partners, which is where things get really fun.
I was recently working with a platform that was interested in offering ACH payments while trying to solve some complex fee structure questions for a new product solution they were providing. When talking about offering ACH payments, there were some concerns around how the instant verification pop-up may conflict with the current user experience. We jumped on a phone call to quickly hash out some of the technical requirements and questions about how it worked and would fit into their flow. At the end of the conversation, we had a few action items which we followed up on and the integration work kicked off.
In a recent office visit I had the pleasure to sit down with their VP of Business Development and catch up on how the ACH project went. I was thrilled to hear how the new offering was working! The pop-up experience wasn't a detriment to the experience. In fact, being able to easily verify your account and then be presented with a list of your accounts and balances was removing problems associated with insufficient funds and was incredibly easy to use. I was incredibly happy to see the positive results and be a part of that solution, something that close competition wasn't offering.