What to Ask Tech Support
Comprehensive training over the phone is possible but not very efficient, as well as being stressful for all parties involved. Reputable software providers offer training for their products, usually at their headquarters. This is always a worthwhile expense. If possible, send a member of your staff to the class. If sending someone away for a few days isn’t possible, most programs are easy to learn with the help of a good manual and a few quick calls to the provider’s tech-support team.
Another question to ask: Will the provider assist with configuring the software to fit your unique business practices? Usually it will, and for the following reasons: When first setting up your software, there are many settings to configure within it, such as late fees and notices, taxes, unit numbers, unit sizes, etc. This configuration is important, and there are settings you don’t want to overlook or improperly configure.
Your property’s rental agreement is a good example. Your lease outlines specific dates, rental rates and late fees as well as timetables during which tenants may be denied access to their units. Your new software should be configured to coincide with your lease and any other legally binding documents. If you’re to trust the program with carrying out important automated tasks, it must be configured properly.
Beware of Wait Times
Do you know the hours of operation for tech support and the time zone in which the support staff resides? Software vendors are located all over the country. If there’s a software problem plaguing your office, will you have to wait another 12 to 14 hours until help is available?
Though the location of the vendor shouldn’t be the sole reason for selecting one software over another, it’s good information to have in advance. You’ll be able to schedule certain office activities accordingly (i.e., upgrades, new computer installations, monthly closes, etc.), when tech support is readily available.
You should also ask potential vendors how long the wait for assistance will be when you call. Depending on the time of day, number of users and other factors, you may not reach a technician immediately.
Of course, we would all like to be helped the moment we call and not have to wait in line or leave a message. However, considering the level of expertise required to answer your questions and effectively solve your troubles, your provider will staff only professionals who, in most cases, are seasoned in these matters.
Your provider’s tech-support department will usually have a goal. If they cannot answer a customer’s call immediately, they will try their best to return the call in a specific time frame. A good number of providers log each incoming tech-support call. This gives the service manager the ability to track the progress of the call, making adjustments if needed by redistributing calls, to stay within the company’s objective.
There are days and times where call volumes will be higher. Monday morning, for example, might be busier than Friday afternoon. The next business day after a three-day weekend or the first and last days of the month might see a rise in activity compared to other days of the month.