Startup Check-In

Chargeback Automation Is An Opportunity For Scale

Businesses that hope to make 2018 a big growth year must start by asking themselves: “Which of my business operations are non-scalable?” Those are the factors that will hold them back.

Pallavi Kuppa-Apte, head of Sales and Marketing for the startup Chargehound, said that’s the question many of the company’s clients have been asking themselves in the past few months. Growth is always a goal in the new year, and many have been making scalability a primary focus, asking how they can maximize profits and revenue.

Kuppa-Apte said it was also the question Chargehound’s founders had to ask in the beginning — not about the startup itself, but about the retailers it aimed to help.

Chargehound saw there were automation tools that could help optimize revenue and support retailers as they scaled: Customer relationship management (CRM), email automation, marketing automation, payments, the list goes on.

But chargebacks, she said, had been exempt from the automation game. Processing them had always been unwieldy and inconsistent due to the manual nature of the task. When a retailer grows, Kuppa-Apte said that “unwieldy” can quickly become “unmanageable” unless some kind of tool is introduced to relieve the pressure through automation.

“As a business becomes more successful and grows, chargebacks will grow too,” Kuppa-Apte said. “It’s a race you can’t win without a scalable, optimized solution.”

It was only a matter of time before someone realized that this process, too, could be automated, she said — someone had to do it sooner or later.

Kuppa-Apte said bringing down operating costs through automation has always been Chargehound’s strength. The startup removes the time and cost of handling chargebacks by automatically submitting as many as a quarter million chargebacks in a minute. Doing so, said Kuppa-Apte, can significantly reduce operating costs by sparing employees from having to process those disputes manually.

How long would it take to process 250,000 chargebacks by hand? “Way too long” is the answer. Running a business involves many repeatable processes, and Kuppa-Apte said retailers must look at those processes to determine which ones can be streamlined.

“People have written off chargebacks as a problem that will always be there,” she said. “But it’s an opportunity for scale that has been overlooked.”

She added that it doesn’t matter whether businesses are handling chargebacks in-house or outsourcing — they don’t need to hire more people, sacrifice other priorities or increase their costs to grow.

Kuppa-Apte said Chargehound will be making an appearance at various conferences this spring, starting with MRC and Shop Talk this week.

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