You finish up your morning cup of Joe.
After the last sip of your medium-roasted coffee, you continue typing your notes of the previous week’s review.
You have your Monday morning meeting in 10 minutes.
It is 8:35 AM, your mall opens at 9 AM. You cannot be late.
You finish your review notes.
The weekends here are busy with thefts and medical cases – you like to spend a little extra time during the meetings discussing this.
This is business as usual.
Plugging through your “incident management system,” you look for this weekend’s incident report.
But, you cannot find it.
It is always in the same place. Why is it not there? “Let me ask Rick,” you bark to yourself.
As you dial your security supervisor’s extension, you feel your blood pressure rise. Your hands are clammy.
All you hear is your doctor in your head saying, “You need to relax. This is not okay for your heart.”
Rick picks up and tells you he completed the report. It should be in the system from Sunday.
You both continue searching for the report but still can’t find it. Frustrated, you dial your solution provider’s support number.
It rings, and it rings and rings some more. After nine never-ending rings, the answering machine message starts.
“Hi, you’ve reached ABC Company. Our hours of operation are 9 AM to 5 PM Pacific Standard Time. Thank you.”
Click. You cannot even leave a message – and you are in New York!
There is no emergency support line. If you email them, you will not get a response for hours let alone ten minutes.
You did not spend the extra $2,400 on premium support, which means you do not have a dedicated support team.
How frustrated are you? An issue as petty as a misplaced report is ruining your day.
To top it off, you cannot get in touch with the very people that can help you.
The snowball effect kicks in. Everything you cannot stand about your “solution” provider rolls through your mind…
Oh, guess what, it is time for your meeting!
You Deserve Success, Not Failure
You deserve success.
When you pay as much as you do for a solution, you expect it to work.
You also expect your solutions provider to be behind you – to help you succeed.
We often talk about the ways that you should be servicing your customers.
Why should it be any different for you?
Today, we are going to talk about the support you should receive. You deserve the opposite of failure.
We are going to share how to find a provider that will help you maximize your success.
It is the first step to becoming a proactive operation.
Your expectations need to be met, especially after your purchase.
Whether you are searching for an incident management system, CMMS, lost and found software, or a guard tour system, you want a world-class provider.
The characteristics we list below will help you.
Spend the time assessing these aspects during your buying process. Trust us; it pays off.
The return on investment is instant.
How to Evaluate Solution Providers’ Customer Support
We get it; finding a solution is a frustrating experience with obstacles and unwanted encounters with mediocre companies.
The headaches start from the moment you begin the search.
Your stress level increases. (Hear your doctor again?)
The overwhelming feeling where nothing else is getting accomplished replaces your ability to be effective.
It gets better, though.
This is how you know you have found a provider worth evaluating:
- They have spent time developing their software.
- They clearly communicate a superior onboarding, training, and customer support process.
Training and support are what matter from the get-go.
But, choosing your software provider is only half the battle.
It is more than features, price, and benefits. The value is also more than what you will see throughout the next 90 days.
Base your choice around the support you can expect to receive after the sale. You know, when you have ten minutes before your Monday morning meeting – and it is not working!
Put the same time and effort used for finding and dissecting a system into understanding how the provider will take care of you after your purchase.
You might have already seen a live demo of the solution provider’s software. That is good.
But, you do not want to make your final decision based on that alone.
That is dangerous. Everything is pie in the sky until, well, it is not.
You need to know what long-term customer support you can expect to receive. It is how you ensure your ‘long-term’ success.
Characteristics for Maximizing Success
It is time to break down what you must look for in a first-class solutions provider.
We categorized the characteristics into three areas of focus. It will help you get the full benefit, and to understand how vital training and support are.
- Onboarding, Implementation & Training
- Unlimited Support
- Lasting Platform & Professional Relationship
1. Onboarding, Implementation & Training
This is a critical stage in your success. Your provider must take it seriously.
Your provider’s implementation training involves as much care as their software.
Overcoming implementation challenges and barriers must be at the forefront of a first-class execution and training program.
Utilizing both online and onsite training allows your team to receive step-by-step guidance for successful setup and long-term use. This is a non-negotiable trait you’ll want available. You will be accountable and so will your team.
Users are trained efficiently according to the process you define. You want to know everything is moving smoothly. You want steps taken and completed the way you need. You want a provider that understands your vision and goals.
2. Unlimited Support
You will expand your wants and needs as you use your new system. You need the tools that allow you to do that. You also want a great support team to ‘support’ your efforts.
The game-changing solution providers provide a Customer Success team to take your team from users to power users.
The Customer Success team will include individuals that have previously been the boots on the ground. They have experience in your industry or similar ones.
A notable provider will have plenty of experience working with other customers like you as well. This pays off for new customers.
Access to online training that’s available to you for as long as you are a customer. You should not ever pay extra for this support.
Does someone on your team need to learn how to do something? The best providers make scheduling an online training a painless experience.
Top providers provide an online support suite. You can take advantage of their online resource full of references and guides for your team to use when they need.
Emergency support is vital, especially when there is an emergency.
If something prevents you from using your software, even when your workday takes you into the late hours, your team should be able to get in touch with the support group.
3. Lasting Platform & Professional Relationship
OK, now you are a full user of the solution. What is next?
Customer feedback is essential to be a superior solutions provider. Do you agree?
Your solutions provider should ask for your feedback. This is a characteristic that will set your provider apart from the others.
It takes ‘support’ one step further. Now, you are contributing to the improvement of the solution.
Yes, that is right, a system that is improving based on your needs as a user.
You, the customer, direct every augmentation.
- Technology and software evolve quickly. There is no reason why you should be left in the dust because you just purchased a solution last week or last month or even last year. A notable provider provides unlimited updates that automatically push to your solution. They include clear tutorials on how to take advantage of it. You never have to worry about being out-of-date again.
- Whom does your software provider work amongst? You want a user community filled with industry professionals and active users that work together with your provider when developing or updating the software. Bringing great minds together to share best practices and insight is a critical factor in providing an unmatched solution.
Over to You
You are focused on Monday morning meetings. You do not want to stress over finding the latest incident report. Feeling frustrated about reaching your solutions provider is not on your To Do list either.
Finding the right provider is the key to maximizing your success. Use the characteristics in this article to identify and select the best provider in the marketplace for your operation.
You deserve it.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in May 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and freshness.