Are you ready for this? Despite what you may think or want to believe, often times new software is not what is needed to help your organization move it’s mission forward. Software is not the silver bullet we all hope it will be in our respective business. In this short article, I want to emphasize the importance of good support in software success. And, how important “support” should be on your short list if and when you may be shopping for a solution.
Good Software requires a dependable partner
I can’t “shout this loud enough”, initial and ongoing services by a skilled provider are critical to the successful implementation of a software program! In fact, service is likely as important as the features in determining true value. When auditioning for new software, a company must know what it needs the program to do specifically. Next, the software company has to provide the knowledge and IT expertise to complete the implementation successfully. And, finally, training classes and help manuals are introductory at best. In order to succeed, you will need a highly knowledgeable support provider to reinforce and augment user knowledge long-term with your chosen solution.
Here is a list of things to consider when selecting a support partner:
What kind of hotline services are available and from whom? You may want to pay a moderate rate for unlimited support from an official, authoritative source. When is support available? If you are on the East Coast and dealing with a West coast company, it’s important to know how the provider handles support for you.
How long has the typical support person been with the company? Do they have turnover? It’s not realistic to expect that you will not have a new person handling support sometimes. However, you should expect a software provider to be responsible for providing the tools and training they will need to help you when needed. If there is a “revolving” door at support, there are likely problems in the work environment.
How long does it take for them to return your call? You do not want to spend your life on hold. Time is of the essence when working on a deadline. You do not want to miss a deadline because you are waiting to find out how to do something new to you. After good training, it will take you several months of consistent use to learn all the ends and outs of your software. If you have an opportunity to “Test Drive” your system before the purchase, check the online documentation, help areas, training videos, & even call the vendor (not the sales rep) to determine the support you may receive. I believe, “how you sell, is how you will likely solve”. That noted, test them.
Do they understand your process? Does the systems engineer understand your industry? If you are billing members for conferences and books, you need someone who understands how to invoice for multiple services.
Does your support partner use help desk,support, or project management software ? If they don’t, consider this a “yellow” flag. In other words, this may likely be a sign that they do not believe in providing the best support they can to their customers. At a minimum, they may be setting their support team up for failure by not arming them with the tools they need to succeed in their respective jobs.
Training for their Support Team:
How often do they train their support team? This includes channel partners who deliver service to the community. This is tough to discern. But, a question or two about how often training transpires for their staff can go a long way in knowing how your experience will be with a software provider. In addition, check out the depth chart.
Per John Wooden, “the main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team”.
Yes, talent can win big games, but a team wins championships. In other words, it’s important that your provider have an established layer of support which they can draw upon to address your specific needs initially and long-term.
At SmartThoughts, we do not implement the software. And, we do not proclaim to be able to solve all the challenges in software. We focus on helping you secure the best possible solution to meet your business objectives. Often times the solution is finding a good support partner.
We believe that ongoing support is critical to realizing the return on investment for your software. To that end, we have aligned ourselves with complimentary business partners who we trust. And, we have developed a vast network of support providers who are experts in Membership Software, Donor Database Software & Social CRM to help ensure your success.
So, if you are looking for a support partner for the software your organization is using now, contact us. We can help. Until then, keep SmartThoughts in mind.