Harbor Touch is the POS system slash credit card processor that I have used for about 4 years.
I am looking at doing anything else, I am paying 5% of my credit card totals each month, which is extremely high. The system also has many flaws, shall we say.
When the salesman came calling a few years ago, I had been just using a cash register from Staples or Office Depot, and the staff had to know all the prices to ring things in, and there was extremely limited ability to track sales. So having buttons for items, and the ability to enter pricing was a step up.
The Salesman told me that it was a new system and that there were updates being done all the time. The software designers were always soliciting input from users in order to create a great system that worked for us all.
So I sent the feedback constantly for the first year, and I did see updates!
Unfortunately, the updates never fixed anything I cared about, or eve noticeably improved the system in any way.
But the col thing was that the updates would happen whenever the hell Harbortouch decided to do them, shutting down the system and locking me out from selling anything. They decided to do these updates about noon. That was fun for me, watching people tell me they couldn't wait, and they'd set down their potential purchases and leave. It was fun for the agent at Harbortouch having to listen to me swear at them for the duration of the update.
They finally stopped doing that. Probably not because of the swearing, but maybe.
Anyway, here are some of the things that I consider to be flaws in the system, and a current issue that is causing me problems:
This Monday morning I am doing my weekend bookkeeping and I find that the thousands of dollars of revenues have not been deposited yet. hey typically hit my account before I look at my balance on a Monday morning, so I don't know exactly when it usually happens. Today the deposits aren't there, but the 14 hundred dollar processing fee from last month HAS been drawn out, causing me to go negative on my checking account for the first time, well, ever as far as I can remember. And there are a few discrepancies between what has gone into my account and what was reported on the daily reports for the last month. Ah well.
So the screen is functional just fine. There are departments in a list towards the left and items with rectangular buttons on the right. Touch screen, you tap the button 7 times to sell 7 small ice cream comes. I'm sure there is a way to enter a quantity and hit the button just once, we rarely would use that so I haven't found it.
But those buttons on the right cannot be moved after you initially set up all your departments. They go left to right, top to bottom in the order you put them in. I've been asking for that to be fixed for four years. Well, to be fair, I gave up after the first two years.
They made it so you can rearrange the Departments. But not the items.
Another cool thing is that there are a few transactions that never did process. They just sit there in the system. I haven't called about them yet, and at this point I probably won't.
also, sometimes tips won't go in, no matter what you do. Just on a few tickets a day.
Also, on a cash sale, if you do all the steps, open the drawer, make change, close the drawer but don't hang around for the last screen which says (i don't remember what it says) it won't ever close out that ticket so it won't show up on the end of day.
I asked initially if I would be able to analyse data in order to figure things out such as the income generated at different times of day.
I was told that you can get a report of the income for any hour of the day. And I can... if I want to know what is my busiest hour, I can look up each individual day and each individual hour, one at a time. Then I can write them all down I guess, or put them on a spread sheet. But the system isn't going to let me create a chart of revenue plotted by time, so I can see how 9-10 am. compares to 12 - 1 pm. on the average for the month.
I can see the sales of individual items or departments for the month, and that's great. I'd also like to see when sales occur when the heaviest traffic is, to help me decide when to have extra staff, whether to close an hour earlier or stay open an hour later.
I can see what's happening by being here, but numbers are objective. There's no easy way to look at that.
Comparing each day side by side would be great too. Being able to see which items did better early or late, or weekday versus weekend...
the data is all there, but they don't let the user arrange it in a way that can be easily analyzed.
I want to look at a report for a week or a month, to determine what items are selling the best.
I can call up a report over the interwebs. It has all the data I need. In alphabetical order. That would be great if I categorized everything alphabetically, but I don't. I did try to do this for a while. I named all the bakery items BK xxx, and all the chocolate items CHOC xxx.
and all the ice cream items IC xxxx. But this confuses the 16 year olds operating the system. So I stopped doing that.
Ideally a system would have the ability to organize that report by department, or by top selling items high to low. I know this technology exists, I have seen it elsewhere.
I'm trying to compare week to week sales.
I would like to compare individual items, but the process is not set up to make that easy, since I can't categorize them within departments at all.
What I am settling with is to compare each week by department.t the report allows me to call up each week, open it, download it onto excel, where it comes up with the raw data in four columns, the department label, the quantity of items sold, the quantity of items returned (0), then the total volume of sales.
and no identifying information...
so to look at them all side by side I get to open each file as i download it, Save As with the date range, then later I can copy and paste themn all onto one file to look at together or create a chart in excel.
That's not a pain in the ass at all, and i have loads of time for bullshit like that.
END OF DAY:
The end of day reports are interesting.
For now, I'll leave it there.
The biggest issue with the reports is that, while the total of sales tax collected is reported, there is no breakdown of the amount of taxable revenues came in compared to non taxable.
Every month I have to report to the State and pay my sales tax, based on the dollar amount of revenues.
In order to do that, my work-around is to do a bunch of math on the spreadsheet, when the report could just simply break that down for me.
I also had to set up each departments into two departments in the system, one for taxable and on non taxable. There are bakery items like muffins and cookies that are pre-wrapped and nontaxable, as well as bakery items that are put on a plate and sold ready to eat and subject to tax. This means that my record keeping is more difficult, because I get to add things together to get totals for each department, but also for training staff, they have to look inn two different sections to find items during a transaction.
There is a system for employees to punch in and out.
I tried it last summer, but gave it up. Lots of times folks would forget to punch in, or worse, to punch out.
When they forget the punch in, it is easy enough to change that as a manager.
But they are missing some opportunities to be really helpful. They could let you input the tax rate, their filing status and your L&I rates etc, and calculate the actual paycheck... What I'dl ike to be able to do it, program the pay period and have the system calculate at least the number of hours for each employee.
You have to set up each employee with a code number to punch in with, and that would track the transaction they personally did at the register, if we signed off and on each time a different employee rang up a transaction. That's fine. But as a manager, as the owner of the business and the person who figures out the pay for each employee, you do't get to see their employee number . So you have to track that number somewhere on paper or a file on your computer.
And the part that made me stop using that at all for employee is that once you enter an employee, they are on the list that you sort through. If you want to look up and see why Duke had 183 hours but only worked one day last week, you have to scroll down past every employee you have ever had. Obviously you don't want to erase that information, but there is not a list of current staff that you can work from on the daily.
Their gifts cards are nice. They have options on the design and I think you can upload your own file.
I had a hard time switching over because the previous gift cards didn't transfer. I had to keep the old system for a few months just to process gift cards while we figured out what to do. In the end I had to collect the account information from the prior system and I keep a list of the old account numbers under the cash register that we have to use to look up the old account, then issue a new card.
So that sucks, but we can't expect all systems to be able to integrate other peoples data.
When you sell a gift card, the sale gets reported as revenue.
When a customer redeems that card, the transaction gets recorded as revenue.
See the problem?
So to fix that in accounting, we have to back out one or the other. I chose to remove gift card transaction from the daily total in my accounting software.
I had a conversation once with a tech from harbortouch. I asked how we are supposed to deal with it. He said he'd look into it up his chain of command. He came back and said, yeah, that's what it does.
Another big problem is that we often give away promotional gift cards. We also like to do a promotion and sell discounted gift cards.
Can't do either of those in the system.
If you give away a gift card, you have to process a gift card sale through the system of course, and settle it as a cash transaction.
but of course you took in no cash. So you want to take that transaction off your books... you try to put in a discount equal to the total. That doesn't work. In fact you can't discount the sale at all.
You can't void it, because that invalidates the gift card.
This apparently works with refunds done the day of the sale, before the batch is sent off.
This happened here the other day for the first time perhaps ever. I couldn't do it myself, it was not one of those obvious things. I voided the sale, but it stayed in the history, causing me to be very skeptical that it had actually voided.
In the past we have had folks cancel orders that had been placed in prior days.
These have required a call to Harbortouch, a form filled out and sent back, and a waiting period.
Terminating the processing and POS lease:
They talked about a 3 year commitment. To a normal person that means that after 3 years you have no more commitment...
But apparently they unilaterally renew that and don't tell you (unless you read the fine print, like we all do, right?)
24 months and 36 months... one of those is the POS and the other is the processing. Because it's more convenient for the customer to have them never renew at the same time. I mean, that automatically puts the customer in the position of having to renew just one, or cancel everything and pay fees on one or the other.
And they know that this is a concern for customers, because that was part of their sales pitch four years ago, that they paid to get you out of your commitment with your old processor.
Over the years I have used 5 different processors.
Some lied about more stuff in their presentation, but none of them screwed me at the end as much as these guys are.
The new company I am with, they have no cancellation fees. And better rates.
We're better off in the long run even with their fees, so we have that going for us.
Also, they wanted to charge 300 dollars to get the Liability Report for my gift cards.
Lucky me, I had asked for one a month earlier and they sent it with all the numbers complete, and at the end there were about 5 that I didn't already know. So we have that going for us.
Harbortouch POS System and Credit Card processing