Effectively managing your school’s membership and growing your customer base requires the right software. But, what makes a software program the “right software?” Features and benefits are important. So is making sure that it’s easy-to-use. But the most important factor in picking the right software has little to do with the software itself. It’s the people behind the program. After all, you don’t just need software. You need service too. So it’s critical that you ensure that you get not just a program, but a partner.
Luckily, within the martial arts industry, you have dozens of high-quality, high-value options to choose from. Each of these options incorporates similar technology. So finding the right program with the right customer service to go along with it should be simple, right?
Wrong. Unfortunately what so often happens is that during the sales process, a software company “courts” you. They put all their effort into being available to you. They show genuine interest in your school. They spark your excitement and high expectations. And for the first few weeks of service, they deliver. Your questions and concerns get immediate attention. However, this should be thought of simply as the honeymoon period.
What ultimately happens is that as the weeks drag on, you find yourself now spending your time in the queue, waiting for “the next available agent.” When you finally get to speak to a live person, they seem to be reading from a script. Then, they pass you off to someone else.
A great software program without great customer service will not only leave you frustrated, it could cause your business to suffer. So, how can you make sure to select a software provider who will also act as a partner? Here are 5 ways to know you’ll be getting a software solution with impeccable service.
1.) They really listen to you
During the selection process everyone is going to be polite, answer your calls promptly and provide over-the-top kindness. But pay attention: are they simply selling you on their product? Or are they listening carefully to your specific needs?
If they are really listening, they should be able to show you how the functionality of their software can solve your very distinct needs. They will be thoughtful and thorough in their analysis. And they will be open with you – spending as long as necessary to help you fully understand what their software will and will not be able to do.
2.) They have an efficient process for resolving issues
While every software company strives to provide software that works error-free, no program is going to ever be 100% without issues. The complexity of today’s software along with its advanced functionality means that even the best engineered software is going to have the occasional bug.
What’s more important than the errors, themselves, is how they handle them. Do they have an efficient process for reporting problems? How full is their unresolved error log? Does their development team work closely with their support team to provide answers quickly? The software companies with the best customer service will all have a very clear and capable approach in place to resolve issues, fast.
3.) They provide ongoing user training
All companies are going to provide user training at the start of service. But providers who act as partners will provide training well beyond the implementation stage. This is especially important for them to provide when rolling out new updates and enhancements. Ask: how do you train users after updates and enhancements? And by what means do you test these updates and enhancements?
4.) They offer a direct method of communication
The last thing you want to discover after you select your software company is that you’ll be passed around to three different people every time you have a question. A true partner will offer a clear and direct way for you to submit a ticket or ask for help. Ask about this process: What are the hours of operation? Will your calls be answered promptly and by a live person with the knowledge to assist you? As with any partnership, the ability to communicate back and forth clearly and directly is crucial to overall success.
5.) They provide a helpful resource center
No matter their business hours, your business is running 24/7. Which means that you are bound to have questions about how something works at a time when live help may not be available. A partner focused on providing the best service understands this. And, they maintain a helpful resource center with a library of how-to articles, videos and walkthroughs that you can access any time.
Improving your school’s management and growth requires an investment in software. Make sure you’re investing in a company that will provide you with not just a program, but an ongoing partnership. With less headaches and greater efficiency, it will be an investment that will pay back heartily in the future.