by Rita Schmidt
August 31, 2016 / Editorial
Determining which new Transport Management System to buy is a long, arduous process of establishing criteria, comparing systems, evaluating their performance, identifying compatibility with individual demands, flexibility of adjustments and overall features.
But one fundamental criteria is regularly omitted when it should be a paramount feature – customer support. Customer support should be far more than simply the usual after-sales service by the software provider. Customer support is an essential component to fully leverage the potential offered by an advanced, innovative system that is designed to drive progress and move the customer forward. Utilizing, indeed capitalizing, on the possibilities of a new system is the impetus for change in the first place. The desire for greater efficiency while simultaneously increasing services and options for existing customers and enticing new prospects.
Roll-out of new software is accompanied by intensive staff training, following this there is a period of acclimatization and development of improved routines to streamline day-to-day operations. But this is only the beginning. The implementation of new software must be regarded as an investment not just a change. The goal is to achieve growth and increase profitability, a race to get return on investment in the shortest period of time and ensure a company’s successful future. First rate support is crucial to reaching these goals.
Support is not a feature in itself, and should not be considered a simplistic process of bug-fixes and troubleshooting. Software support is not like servicing a vehicle where a quick trip to the garage for some replacement parts and a little lube make all the difference. Support, as we understand it, is an ongoing process of presence, contact and interaction with the customer, enriched by depth of forwarding expertise which makes support a real key feature. Any vendor not offering this kind of service clearly has a shallow, trouble-prone solution.
10 examples of the quality support provided for Scope
- Following initial training, online video training is provided to clarify and answer specific questions regarding individual usage.
- A test system is installed to enable new users to become familiar with Scope prior to access to live operations. The system is also available for demonstration of new features as well as problem solving.
- With 4 major and several minor updates Scope delivers up to 12 releases per year. A resilient QA (Quality Assurance) is conducted for each new release.
- Configuration support for complex subjects like tariff maintenance or customization of individual documents accelerates progress and eases usage.
- Since Scope is continuously improved and enhanced, users are regularly informed about new features and changes by release notes and top feature videos.
- Support tickets are treated in the shortest amount of time possible. Regularly confirmed by customers.
- Support staff are forwarding experts and not technicians. They speak the language our customers speak and understand. They perceive themselves to be connectors between users and developers rather than company representatives.
- Substantial expertise and long experience is constantly updated with further education, for example aviation safety. This assures competence in current forwarding issues.
- Customer calls are a regular component of customer care, not only for on-site resolution of problems but to deepen customer insights of more efficient Scope usage.
- Long-standing, loyal staff guarantee continuity in collaboration. A customer has always direct access to their established contact person, skipping receptionists or call centers.
Final conclusion before final decision
Support as a product key feature that turns a business relationship into a real partnership. This is why depth of support and quality of support should be considered from the very beginning, prior to software acquisition. Making a decision without thorough analysis of the quality of support is the first step in the wrong direction. It can take months for poor support to fully manifest itself and result in years trapped in an unpleasant solution, risking financial loss and business stagnation. When the time comes to make up your mind, think of software as a long-term partnership.