Have you ever contacted a company that you have purchased software from, only to come out the other end of the conversation even more frustrated? We certainly have at Blue Ninja! You can feel like you’ve not been heard or understood. How can the company possibly not help and in many ways make things worse for you?
There is a reality to this that you have the right software for what you need. This can be very difficult to identify at the start and more often than not time is of the essence so decisions happen quickly. So when you dive into the software, it may not give you all the elements you were expecting, or you’re not on the right plan (that can be wholly frustrating to discover that you have to pay even more for the features you were expecting).
Testing is the key to making informed choices at the start. If you can’t see the system initially you won’t be able to test whether it may provide all the elements you require to successfully navigate and initiate your business needs. During testing you need to check what plan you are testing on. If you get access to everything, you’re probably on the highest plan and need to be conscious that you may end up on a lower plan that does not include all those elements.
When we initially test a system, we always look at the customer service options. What options are there? Are there help documents? Videos? Chat? Email? How detailed is the documentation? What type of service is available of which plans – that can be frustrating when you can’t get a person because your plan doesn’t provide the access to a person to ask your questions. Do they have a bot function? This often takes you back to the documentation so check what the bot will provide and if you can get more support if you can’t get your question answered by the bot.
Here are some helpful tips to talk to your software provider to get what you need from them:
Ask your enquiries separately and rank them in order of priority
You may have a list of things you need assistance with, but rank them first in order of priority. What is going to have the highest impact if it doesn’t get done? Start with that. The reason it’s best to keep your enquiries separate is in part of who will handle them. If it’s a specific part of the system it may go to a different department than another part. It means the problem can be worked through correctly and get answered without missing anything important to you.
It’s also helpful to take screenshots and videos to help you to show what the problem is. Software like Loom and Snagit can help you to take a video to demonstrate your issue or you could use your print screen or snipping tool to capture the issue.
When you send in your enquiry you should receive an identifier and email confirmation. Keep replying to the same email as often the enquiry is tracked that way, particularly if the company is using a customer service tool like Zendesk.
If the software provider can’t answer your question initially, keep asking.
With a lot of service structures, there is a customer service team who filter the enquiries. They will know enough about the system to guide you, but they are possibly not proficient in every area of the software. They may want to refer you to documentation – always check what they send as you can’t always find the right document to answer your question yourself so see what they provide.
If you don’t get the answer you need, ask them to escalate your enquiry or seek a direct call. If they say the issue is not solvable, find out how to add it to the development team as an enhancement. Software companies are always updating and enhancing their system and your problem may be one that many others also face. It may not solve your issue on the short-term but it may get it resolved in the long-term.
Be polite to the people helping you
At the point of contacting the software provider you may be quite frustrated. You can’t work out how to solve your issue and you’ve probably spent quite a bit of time trying. When you first reach out to them they may not understand initially what you are trying to achieve. It happens and sometimes you have to keep going through the process to get to the crux of the issue.
Always be polite to whomever you are liaising with. They will help you as best as they can, and they don’t always have the technical capabilities you may need. You need that person to help you get to the next level of support if they can’t solve the problem so keep them on side. You may also be liaising with someone from another country – so much is virtual now – and that can also have some impact on how they approach customer service.
If you end up in a chat with a person or on a call, ask the person where they are, how long they have been with the company etc. A little interest shown in the person with a courteous attitude will go a long way to get you better support. Even if the person can’t solve your problem, they will be more likely to keep digging with you until all ideas to support you are exhausted.
Try to think differently about your problem
One of the problem-solving elements we adapt at Blue Ninja is ‘what is the alternative?’. When liaising with customer service and you run into the dreaded ‘we’ve done all we can’ then try to start brainstorming alternative scenarios to solve your issue. Sometimes different areas of the software may act in a different way that could make what you need work.
An example of this is Active Campaign. We started using Conversations as a customer service tool in Active Campaign but discovered it would not allow us to cc an email when replying to the enquiry. We reached out to customer service and stated the issue and what we wanted to happen with the software. After working through the problem, we discovered Conversations would not allow us to cc. However, talking through we discovered there was a cc option in the Deals section that could also be a potential work-around. It took an extra step to get the enquiries into the Deals section of Active Campaign but then gave a lot more flexibility that we needed so was worth it.
There are also options such as Zapier that may give you more options to get what you need externally to the system. For instance, if you are looking to send a reminder email to a client that you cannot generate in the software, you may be able to use Zapier’s functions to provide that email with the key information from the software. Take a look at Blue Ninja’s Zapier add-on for support on setting up Zapier for your business needs.
These four suggestions may not always get you a positive result, but it will help you have a positive experience with your software providers and hopefully build a rapport with their customer service teams that will get you started in the best possible way.
If you have not had a positive experience with your software provider or feel like you’re going around in circles (or at the extreme stopped using your software altogether) then arrange a call with Blue Ninja to discuss your concerns. Between us we may be able to get you moving forward.
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