If you’re selecting a board portal, the level of customer support you will get is an essential consideration. It should be one of the criteria you use to choose the right solution.
Here we look at some of the indicators of quality customer support, and the things you should look out for when making a decision.
Why support is necessary
Whatever portal you choose, having the right assistance on hand is vital. Systems like this are not called ‘software as a service’ for nothing: the ongoing service you receive is as important as the technical spec.
That said, there are some things that should reduce your need for help. These are the first things to look for when choosing a solution.
How can I reduce my need for support?
Two main things will help you get started with your portal:
1. Its user-friendliness.
Some Software as a Service (SAAS) platforms are easier to learn and use than others.
- Is the solution you’re considering intuitive and painless to use?
- Does it use familiar formats, like pdf?
- Is there a clear process to follow?
If the answer to any of these is ‘no’ – reconsider. Your portal should make your life easier, not harder.
2. The initial training you receive
However user-friendly your chosen solution, you will need some training when you start using it.
Make sure everyone who will be using the platform gets the training they need. This will maximise uptake and ensure it becomes part of their daily lives.
But back-up is still needed!
Don’t forget though, that however comprehensive your initial training and however ‘plug and play’ your solution – you will need to rely on its customer support at some point.
That’s why it’s so important that the service matches the software when choosing a board portal or other SAAS solution.
Five questions to ask about customer support
When choosing a platform, always ask yourself the following:
1. How quickly can we get help if we need it?Is assistance available on demand? Are the support team easy to get hold of?
2. Is the team UK-based?Again, an important consideration when it comes to availability. If they are in a different time zone, will this impact response time?
3. Can they explain things in plain English?You need the support team to know the technical detail inside out – that’s a given. But can they also talk in plain English when they need to? You
don’t necessarily have to know all the technical detail behind your query – just how to deal with it.
4. Are they available 24/7?Again, important when it comes to response time. If you routinely – or even occasionally – pull together board packs out of hours, you need to be able to reach someone if you hit a snag.
5. Can they deal confidently with everyone who might need their help?Related to the ‘plain English’ point above – not everyone who works on your board packs is going to be a technical or administrative expert.
Are the support team as comfortable speaking with your board members or company secretary as they are with your technical or administrative colleagues? Can they explain the issues in a way that resonates with your whole team?
Hopefully this has shown you why customer support is such a vital consideration – and given you the questions you need to ask to make sure your chosen portal delivers the level of back-up you need.
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