By April Lee
When choosing a management-software program, self-storage owners often focus on the features, interface and growth capability of the products offered. However, they should also consider the support the vendor will provide after the purchase. Support hours, quality of support and resources will prove to be extremely important should there be any questions about how to use the system or what to do if an issue arises.
Time is money, and being able to get quick, accurate help is essential. Here are a few support questions to ask and considerations to make the next time you make a change in management software.
Training for all software products should be provided at the time of installation. Consult with your vendor to find out if it offers onsite training or interactive live webinars for facility employees. Some software companies offer their customers 24/7 access to training videos so new and existing managers can review information at their leisure.
More and more companies are replacing bulky product manuals with online-digital documents that are easier to update. Training for any new software or equipment is an ongoing process. As the owner and managers continue to work with the product, their reliance on training materials should decrease.
Inevitably a question will be raised for which a solution is not immediately evident. Self-storage operators should rely on their vendors to provide technical support in a timely fashion. The information provided by the support team should facilitate a quick, permanent solution to the issue the user is experiencing.
The tech-support team should be able to convey what caused the problem and how to prevent and/or correct it in the future. In the event of product failure or errors, they should be willing to work with the operator to troubleshoot the issue and provide replacement parts in a timely fashion when needed.
Ask the vendor how quickly it responds to technical-support inquiries. Is support available around the clock or between certain times? If you leave a message, how long will it take before someone responds? Typically, a software problem needs to be fixed fast, so make sure your vendor offers a speedy response time.
Keep in mind that technical-support models differ from company to company. Some vendors charge a fee on a per-issue basis or offer a package for extended support. Others might include support for a specific time frame as part of the purchase. These fees should be discussed during the sales process so both sides have a clear understanding of what is and isn’t covered.