Why does customer service matter when it comes to buying software? Let's face it: we're used to buying software without much thought to the company behind it. That's fine for incidental apps and utilities, but the specialized, business-critical software calls for a bit more attention. As you know, running a home care agency is a complex, multi-faceted thing, and the software and processes involved need knowledgeable, helpful support. Unless you are big enough to have your own IT department, that support needs to come from your provider.
Too many homecare agency owners and operators will sign a contract with a software provider without having properly considered the customer care scenario they’ve stepped into. How loud do you have to ring the bell to get help from your home care management software provider?
So, who cares about customer service? The answer should be “every decision maker in the homecare industry”, but unfortunately it’s not. Why is that? There is a couple of reasons:
1. When choosing a software provider agency owners may focus on the “software” but ignore the “provider” altogether.
In other words, homecare agency owners and decision makers often get too fixated on the tools and features in the software and lose sight of the rest. They either assume that they won’t need support as long as the features are there, or they assume that the support will be there when they need it, without performing the due diligence to make sure that’s the case. Don’t get me wrong, features are definitely important. The software has to be able to do what you need it to do.
Managing a homecare agency is complex though, so there will be a necessary level of complexity to any software that can effectively help you with that management. So having a friendly and easily accessible customer care resource to help you work through the nitty-gritty is vital. Don’t get distracted by the shiny stuff, make sure you’re getting the full package. If you don’t, the part that’s missing will become glaringly obvious at the worst possible time and by then it’s often too late to do anything about it.
2. By its very nature customer care is difficult to quantify and thus difficult to predict.
Often, homecare agency owners and decision makers don’t give enough credence to customer care when choosing a software provider because it’s just plain hard to do. There is no inherently measurable component of “good customer care” that can be easily monitored and objectively reported on.
That fact makes it difficult to know what questions to ask to find out what a company’s customer care is like. Even if you do come up with a question or two to ask, it can still be hard to tell if you’re getting a straightforward answer from the salesperson. As you know, that salesperson has the specific goal of getting you through the door.
Everyone knows when they’ve received poor customer service, but it’s a feeling, not necessarily a number. So how can you tell what the customer service will be like before you actually need it, before you’ve signed a contract and it’s too late?...
Here’s the best thing to do to ensure that you will get good customer care from a home care management software provider: Ask around!
What better way to find out what a scheduling, billing and payroll provider’s support is like than to ask the people who have experienced it first hand? People are usually glad to share their experiences, especially when they feel that they have been treated particularly well, or conversely, if they feel they’ve been treated particularly poorly. Asking around will also give you a better sense of a provider’s overall reputation. With business-critical software, you will be embarking on a relationship with that company. It's not just a bit of software!
Where to ask?
- Ask around in forums. There are many organizations around your industry that are talking to each other. Join them! It's good to be part of these groups, anyway, for the perspectives and information they bring to you.
- Inquire on social media. Facebook is good. Tweet the question on Twitter. Check out sources on Linked In.
- Call your friends in the industry. Get names of their friends.
- Ask the software provider for references. This can be a revealing action in and of itself. If they give references freely and willingly, that is usually a good indicator that they are confident in their customer service and that they have good reason for that confidence. Likewise, if they are hesitant or give you push-back of any kind, they may have something to hide in that department.
Ultimately, it’s important that you don’t sell yourself short. Join the happy people. Make sure you will be getting the attention and care you deserve from your homecare software provider!