How To Spot A Winning Customer Support Program

Ask almost anyone and they can give you an example of bad customer support. Rude representatives, slow response times, and infuriating automated phone menus are just a few things that spring to mind. 

Good customer support, on the other hand, is more difficult to describe — at least, until you experience it first hand. 

In our last article, we wrote about why you should put customer support first when choosing a software vendor. (If you didn’t get a chance to read that article, we recommend starting here.)  

But what exactly does a good software support program look like? There’s no magic formula, but in this article we'll go over some of the things you should look for when evaluating a vendor's support program. 

Download our free 8-point checklist to help you choose the right EHS software

1. Shares helpful resources online through their website and email list

When you’re buying software, you want to be sure you're choosing the best solution for your business specifically. And once you're actually using the system, you want to be sure you're getting the most bang for your buck. That's why it's crucial to find a vendor who knows the industry well and can give you insight on how to make the most of your software system's features. 

You can tell a lot about a vendor's expertise based on the resources they share on their website and email list. If a vendor provides helpful educational resources for prospective customers, it's a good sign they’re staying up to date on what’s happening in the industry. For example, here at Perillon we offer a sizable library of free content including articles, downloadable guides, and webinars. 

2. Provides focused training for different types of users

Different types of users will perform different tasks within the software, so understandably they'll need different types of training. A power user or administrator who uses the system every day will require a detailed understanding of system functionality. On the other hand, it doesn’t make sense to have casual users sit through hours of in-depth training that doesn’t relate to them. 

For this reason, a good customer support program offers specific training for each type of user. This can range from hands-on training for individual users to large group web meetings. 

3. Includes training and configuration support at no additional cost

After spending a bunch of time and money purchasing a new software system, the last thing you want to hear is that you need to spend even more money. But, many vendors will charge you extra if you need additional training or have to reconfigure something after the system has been rolled out to users. 

Be sure to ask what exactly is included in the price of the software. Inquire about the basics like implementation and training, but also ask about any additional costs you might incur. You’ll want to choose a vendor who quotes you a fixed price upfront rather than an hourly arrangement filled with uncertainty. 

4. Listens carefully and asks questions that demonstrate their industry expertise

Your first conversation with the vendor will tell you a lot about what it will be like to work with them. Rather than jumping right into a sales pitch, a good vendor is going to ask plenty of questions to understand your needs and challenges. 

You'll be able to tell right away from the types of questions they ask whether they have experience that will be beneficial to you. Do they understand your industry terminology? Have they worked with companies like yours before? These are all good signs that you're looking at a team who will be able to support you when issues arise.

5. Assigns you a dedicated account manager

Having a dedicated account manager provides you with a consistent point of contact at the vendor’s company. Instead of dealing with a different rep every time, your account manager will get to know your business and your team. This is a lot quicker than having to get someone new up to speed when you have a specific question or problem. And, as your account manager gets to know your business, they can suggest ways to help you get more value out of the system. These are just a few of the reasons having a dedicated account manager is so important.

6. Offers a knowledge base and other self-service support

In addition to your dedicated account manager, most vendors will also provide phone and email support. This way you can reach someone around the clock if you run into a problem. 

But sometimes, you have a simple question that doesn’t require the attention of a support rep. In that case, self-service support tools like a knowledge base or quick reference guide provide you with a faster option to get help.

Rather than having to pick up the phone or put in a support ticket, you can use the knowledge base or quick reference guides to look up an answer for yourself. This way you can quickly locate the information you need and learn as much or as little as you want. 

Be sure to find out whether the vendor you’re considering offers these types of options for self-service support.

7. Is friendly and approachable

Ultimately, you want to choose a vendor who you get along with. You’re going to be working together for years to come, so it’s important to find someone you feel comfortable with and who genuinely cares about your success. 

This might seem obvious, but a good support team will never make you feel like you're inconveniencing them. You want a support team that  will treat your problem or question like it's the most important thing they could be focused on at the moment. 

8. Acts as a partner in the implementation process

Good support doesn’t end at go-live. In fact, that’s just the beginning. A good vendor will be heavily involved in the implementation process to make sure you get up and running successfully.

The level of "hands-on" involvement will vary widely from one vendor to another. Some vendors will expect you to hire consultants to help with the implementation. Others will partner directly with you in this process. 

This is yet another reason why it's so important to choose a vendor with industry expertise. You want someone who has been through lots of implementations before and can help you anticipate and avoid potential roadblocks before they derail your project. 

Request a demo of Perillon

Now that you know how to spot a winning customer support program, you'll be in a much better position to choose a software vendor who will help your organization succeed. Your next step is to schedule an overview demo with each of the vendors you've shortlisted. You can click here and fill out the form to request a demo of Perillon today.

Next, learn how to prepare for an EHS software demo

click to download software selection checklist



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