There are three important factors that resolve the shipping software support problem.
This Expert Exchange is brought to you by Joe Lowrey, Key Account Manager at ProShip Multi-Carrier Shipping Software.
Support. It’s one of the most criticized components of nearly every technology on the market. Whether support can’t be reached, the process is taking up too much time, or customer issues aren’t getting resolved, it can make or break your business. With e-commerce running the market and companies fulfilling more and more online orders, a support problem relating to the shipping technology that makes this all possible can be detrimental if not handled correctly.
So, what makes up a solid shipping software support department? While there are many bits and pieces that make a huge difference in support success, we believe that these pieces can be broken down into three components: consultancy, perseverance and expertise.
Successful support teams are proactive, not just reactive. They involve their customers in their product roadmap, exchanging best practices based on experience and situations whenever possible. By listening to customers, support can constantly adapt their processes in order to successfully meet needs. For instance, if support gets feedback from their customers that updates should never go out on Mondays and product releases shouldn’t become available on Fridays, it’s support’s job to relay these inquiries back to the rest of the software team in order to avoid future support tickets and disgruntled customers.
Support programs also need to act as a two-way street. Customers should be key stakeholders in product decision making. As an example, while onboarding a new Top 100 Retail customer, ProShip’s professional services team helped guide the retailer in making the proper decisions to implement the shipping technology into its distribution centers and helped build a future phased approach in adding the software into its stores.
ProShip’s support team helped with the initial investigation and discussions of a plan to make this happen. Therefore, a product is being developed and delivered to fit the customer’s need. It’s all about involving the customer into the solutions process as deeply as they feel comfortable.
But what about resolving actual support issues when things go wrong? Usually, there is a negative perception of support’s ability to solve problems quickly and effectively. So, it’s important to build an in-house support team that works with the product every day. But what’s more important? Making sure each customer is assigned a dedicated “point person” or account manager that knows their customers’ unique business from onboarding, to integration, to post-implementation and beyond.
At ProShip, it is a primary focus of every account manager to understand their customers’ complexities. To help with that understanding, support engineering teams are associated to each customer in order to create subject matter experts to help facilitate smooth and swift resolutions as support issues arise. With the account managers and primary support engineering teams, customers can have peace of mind that their needs are being taken care of from all aspects.
Every software vendor you choose should provide you with multiple tools for success, because even though the vendor should consist of subject matter experts, they should really serve as an extension to your own team. It’s important to note that not only should your shipping software vendor be product experts, they should also be industry experts – they should be able to dive into aspects of the industry and act as a resource when you have questions about carriers, third party logistics companies, trends, etc.
The tools they provide should also allow you to navigate the product independently. For instance, ProShip offers access to an online-based product wiki called Procyclopedia to every customer. This up-to-date reference guide peels back the curtain and allows customers to find answers to technical questions, obtain implementation instructions and much more.
Support Doesn’t Have to be Second-Rate
Support in the shipping technology business is a critical element of the overall customer experience. Whether a customer asks a basic question or presents a complex business case that results in the need for future product innovations, the support team should be fully prepared to assist. At ProShip, customer support is more than a concept – it’s a commitment. We continue to educate and communicate with our customers and are always excited to help a new customer on their journey to better shipping.
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