In a perfect world, enterprise software should just work. Which would be the case if every implementation had the same architecture, the same integrations, and was solving the same business problems. That’s just not the case in an enterprise environment. So when you’re selecting a vendor for secure document delivery that impacts mission-critical systems, the low-price option isn’t always the lowest cost when you encounter an issue.
The true value of a superior software provider is their customer service. When you need help, you want to know your vendor has invested the time and resources to quickly and effectively solve your problem and get you back up and running. But customer support is often an area where companies try to save money. Many companies view support as a “cost center” rather than view it as an opportunity to invest in their customers’ success. Ensuring that your customers have a good support experience shouldn’t be driven by budget.
But it is. Most companies look at customer support as a burden that they must bear. Customer care is not a focus and gets little budget. And we know who suffers – the customer. So it’s strange when we see companies re-configure their customer care to ‘improve the economics.’
When I have a support issue, I’m stressed. I don’t want to call customer service but I have to because something is broken. I don’t want to talk to a robot. I don’t want to go through 36 menu options. I don’t want to have to key in the 20 digit serial number.
What I do want is to talk to a friendly person. Someone with the expertise and tools that can calm me. Make me believe that they can solve my problems (at least the one I’m calling about). I understand that talking to robots is cheaper, but when there is an issue, and the boss is breathing down your neck, hitting a menu prompt is the last thing you want.
Outsourcing Your Customer Care
Some good companies outsource their customer care department. They can provide an excellent experience if you’re trying to solve an issue with your phone or follow up on an order. But for enterprise software? Are these ‘customer care professionals’ really going to have anything close to the knowledge of the company that designed and built the software? Unlikely. Instead of spending years understanding your product, they have a call script and a flow diagram. If your problem isn’t in their database, then they’ll be of limited help.
Inexpensive resources reading scripts is no way to help solve problems with complex software. We know that all of our customers face unique challenges and work in complex environments. While we use flow diagrams to help diagnose problems, first we rely on our team of experts who know the product inside and out. Eleven years is a long time to work with a technology and that’s why we are ecstatic that our customer care staff has an average tenure in our company of over a decade. That is over a decade of helping fix problems, of understanding customer’s environment, and just listening.
Dedication to Support
As the software developers, we know we have the deepest knowledge of our solutions and how they work. We are always up-to-date; we invest in excellent support staff and infrastructure. And we really care about what our customers think and how they are treated. Customer support is one of our pillars of success, not an afterthought.
So the “value” you’re getting from a low-price solution often means they may have been whittling away their costs in other areas. We don’t trim support to improve our bottom line. For us it’s an investment in a happy customer. We consider that our most important asset.