What Most Entrepreneurs Forget When Purchasing Software

  • TOPIC: Uncategorized
  • AUTHOR: Eric Richard
  • DATE: 02/1/2012

Entrepreneurs have long understood the power of software to transform a business and drive operational performance. And with Software as a Service (SaaS) applications now available for practically every business function, the opportunities for business improvement are staggering.

That’s why entrepreneurs tend to anticipate new software purchases with giddy delight.
They see the possibilities. They see the opportunities. They see the future.

Consequently, the “goods” always seem to supersede the “bads” when selecting a software application or program for your business needs:

  • The massive amount of time and money you’ll save by tapping into a software application’s features.
  • The user-friendliness of a program that both your customers and staff will appreciate.
  • The dynamic and cutting-edge look it has.
  • It has a price tag that any business owner or operator can afford.
       

Yes, chances are that the software applications you’re researching will help you run your business more effectively, successfully and profitably. That’s what they’re designed to do.   

But what happens when there’s a technical issue with the software after signing up? Who do you contact when the system is not working properly or when you have a question about certain functionality or features?

These are questions that should be asked prior to signing up for service. And it’s the reason why customer service should be a top requirement when selecting a Software as a Service (SaaS) provider.

SaaS applications are quickly becoming the software solution of choice among businesses of all sizes and scopes of work. They’re generally very effective, easy to use, accessible from any Internet connection, and give business owners advanced functionality, features and compatibility at an affordable price. As recently as five or so years ago, such software applications would have been reserved for larger companies and out of reach for many businesses and organizations, given their limited budgets.

In most instances, the features and benefits of SaaS applications match and even surpass those of traditional software packages purchased at electronics stores or retail outlets and installed on a single computer or network. But just like traditional software companies, the degree of customer support can vary greatly among SaaS providers.

For some SaaS providers, the “service” part is a bit of a misnomer. And entrepreneurs who happen to be infatuated with an application’s potential impact on their business oftentimes forget all about the customer service (or lack thereof) attached to the software.

To that end, here are a few questions every business owner or operator should ask before selecting a SaaS provider:

  • Does the SaaS provider offer live customer support? This should be a given, but there are both traditional and SaaS providers out there that simply refer users to a FAQ page or forum. While some questions can be answered in this fashion, many require a live person to provide feedback.
  • What type of live support is offered? In today’s Internet-connected world, e-mail, text messages and live chat suffice when trying to get information or questions answered. But there are many others who still want the ability to speak with someone over the phone. This can be a key point when researching providers, depending on personal communication preferences.
  • When can support be reached? While many people are connected to the Web 24-7, that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to customer support at SaaS providers. Some customer support departments may operate on a standard 9-5 workweek schedule with 24-support available, while others may only be available a few hours a day with no extended support options. Depending on the role the SaaS application plays in overall operations and the need to reach customer support at a moment’s notice, availability of customer support can be a huge factor.

System functionality and capabilities will always be the top priority when it comes to selecting a software for your business operating needs. But customer service should always come in close second.

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