County staff accepts Summit Award at Arizona Association of Counties event
VPS has been working with Coconino County, Ariz., since June 2017 and has processed more than $4.3 million in payments for nine county departments, while saving Coconino taxpayers money along the way. Coconino County Treasurer, Sarah Benatar says, “Coconino County’s partnership with VPS has substantially streamlined taxpayers’ ease of making payments, including property taxes and court fees. They have been phenomenal in our goal of being more efficient and providing better customer service.”
The County’s previous system used multiple vendors for different departments, which was not suitable for the county’s rural area and diverse population. It made processing payments difficult for both staff and taxpayers. Benatar describes the County’s previous debit/credit payment processing methods as complicated, frustrating, inaccurate and overall inefficient. Fees were different for different types of payments, whether the transactions were made online, in person, or over the phone, which resulted in confusion and many complaints from customers. To compound the convoluted payment options and conflicting fees, bank deposits were often incorrect and took a long time to sort out among financial institutions. A misidentified or delayed payment could also show up as a missed payment, leading to late fees or other incorrect information on a taxpayer’s account that would take more time to resolve.
When the County put out a request for proposal for payment processing vendors, VPS was the successful bidder, and in a short time nearly 5,000 transactions have been successfully and accurately processed. Benatar says, “Payments are easier, complaints are fewer, and positive feedback has been received from customers. In addition, all bank deposits are processed correctly for all departments.”
Susan Walka, Chief Deputy Treasurer (left); Michael Combrink, Chief Deputy Assessor; and Patty Hansen, County Recorder, accepted the Summit Award for Civic Engagement & Public Information on behalf of Coconino County at the of the Arizona Association of Counties Annual Conference in Chandler, Ariz., on Nov. 17. The County was recognized for its Outreach, Education, and Remote Services program, which includes an overhaul of its payment processing capabilities, now provided by VPS.
VPS works hard to make all products user-friendly, to offer the highest level of customer service, and resolve all issues quickly, no matter how big or small. Benatar states, “The customer service VPS offers is unique and by far the best from any vendor we have ever worked with. Any issues, whether technical or user error, have been resolved within 24 hours, which has resulted in the County staff having more time to focus on other functions, improved the quality of customer service to our clients, and expanded options for departments.” In addition, Benatar comments, “VPS has provided Coconino County with the tools, resources, knowledge, and ability to take our credit card processing to the next level at little to no cost to the County. VPS has had the patience to sit down with staff through every barrier we have faced and the website and phone service has been very user friendly, with customers calling us to share their positive feedback.”
Sarah Benatar, Coconino County treasurer, says selecting VPS as the County’s payment processing vendor eliminated many problems the County was having with inefficiency and confusion among taxpayers.
VPS also provides additional services to the County for free, such as marketing materials that are posted at payment sites so taxpayers know about their payment options and are aware of any fees up front. “We have heard from our departments that VPS has been the easiest vendor they worked with,” Benatar says. “ The ease and user friendliness the VPS online platform is outstanding and assists with internal management of funds. The marketing support has been tremendous and the personal approach to all aspects of business has made our transition a seamless process. VPS has provided the County with excellent service, resources, platforms, flexibility and the ability to provide new technology and options to the people we serve.”
Coconino County receives Summit Award for successful program overhaul
The Arizona Association of Counties recently awarded Coconino County a Summit Award in Civic Engagement & Public Information for its Outreach, Education, and Remote Services program. Implemented by the Treasurer, Assessor, and Recorder offices, part of the program is the revamp in the County’s payment options, such as expanding to PayPal, accepting credit cards out-of-office, and having multiple options for constituents to be able to pay online and over the phone.
Benatar has worked on this program for a long time, and she credits VPS with helping see it come to fruition with such overwhelmingly positive results. Benatar says, “We could not have created such a successful program without VPS. The outreach, education and remote services program has been a priority since I came in. It’s been great to see the progress and the positive impacts it’s had in our community, families and taxing districts. I cannot stress how wonderful VSP has been, the staff have been some of the most amazing people I’ve worked with and by far, the easiest, most professional, well-run vendor I’ve worked with.”
Founded in 2008 in Nashville, Tenn., Value Payment Systems, LLC is a privately held company that provides a safe and easy way for governments (state, local and federal) and educational institutions to make payments through multiple channels (web, mobile, terminals, IVR, and live agents) at the lowest cost. For more information, visit us online at valuepaymentsystems.com.