5 elements of top-class software support

When weighing up the various alternatives for a new software solution, be it for property management, accounts or keeping track of staff leave, which factors are most likely to sway your decision? Is it price, online availability, ease-of-use or range of features? What about the level of support available from the vendor? If you don’t know how to use the system then you’ll end up completely frustrated and your business will suffer as a result.

Here at RentPro we know that alternative products are available, so one of the ways that we strive to differentiate ourselves from the competition is by offering an excellent level of customer of service. In fact, at a more basic level, if someone is paying us for a service, then we believe that it’s our obligation to provide all the necessary support and documentation required to maximise their use of our product.

1. Email vs Phone support

“Do you offer phone support?” is a common question a potential customer asks when evaluating RentPro. Although we often phone clients when it appears that they are struggling with a particular issue, our primary support mechanism is email. Well, it’s actually a very sophisticated support desk, but it looks and feels like simple email…. Although some clients take a little convincing, email support is much better for all involved. Why?

  • When a question needs answered, or you can’t understand where a figure came from, it’s easier to pop off an email and get on with your working day instead of spending an age on hold listening to some dreadful 80’s pop music.
  • The email response that you receive will provide a written, historical set of instructions that you can refer back to at a later date. Compare this with scribbled notes that you can’t make head nor tail of 30 mins later when speaking to a support agent.
  • You can share the knowledge with your team members by cc’ing them on your email.

2. Response Time

Despite my protestations that email is better than phone when it comes to support, you’re not going to be convinced if it takes 24 hours or more to get an answer to your query, or worse, no reply at all. If you send a request to your solutions provider and subsequently get a reply from a personal email address then the alarm bells should start ringing! Instead you should receive an immediate email acknowledgement, and a full response shortly thereafter. Each ‘conversation’ you have with the support team should have a unique identifier for tracking purposes. At RentPro we use an industry leading support system (Zendesk) to track and manage all support queries. This ensure that all queries are dealt with and nothing falls between the cracks. It also allows us to benchmark ourselves against other companies in the same sector, and we perform amazingly well. The industry average for first reply on support tickets is over 20 hours, our response time is under 2 hours, 10x times faster. And that’s just the average, 85% of our tickets are answered in less than an hour, and every single one in less than a day. That’s including weekends.

3. Level of Knowledge

Even if most of your queries are dealt with in email format, the person providing the reply should have an intimate knowledge of the product, and not simply be churning out canned responses. Most users encounter the same types of questions, e.g. why a landlord’s property statement doesn’t show the balance they expect, or how to set up a guaranteed rent scheme, and these are easily resolved by sending through the link to the relevant section of the RentPro user manual. However, each agency is different and it’s not just about answering your question but helping us learn how to make the product even easier to use so that other users don’t have to ponder the same question in future.

As with so many so-called “help” channels nowadays, from your phone or broadband to your satellite television provider, we’ve all become very familiar with the support agent reading blindly from a script, possibly in poor English, and making you even more frustrated by their one-size-fits-all approach and lack of knowledge of the more detailed parts of the system. When speaking to a professional support team such as ours, you should have the feeling that you’re speaking to an expert who even if they don’t know the answers themselves at least they have direct access to the developers, designers and managers who maintain and develop the product.

4. Help and Training Material

Good software should be easy to use for even the least technical members of any team, and more astute “power users” will find it a breeze to use. However, from time to time users will struggle to find how to perform a particular task, probably when they are most under pressure. That’s where help documentation comes into play, and RentPro has a comprehensive user manual available online as a first point of reference via the Help button in the top-right of your RentPro account. Type your question in plain English and you’ll quickly find a range of relevant answers. If you don’t get the answer you require you can quickly follow this up with a ticket to our support team for a speedy response.

Of course, each person in your office sitting down individually and taking the time to learn all the nuances of a new software system can be time-consuming and may not be the most effective or productive use of your time. If you prefer to set aside a training day, we offer comprehensive training packages delivered onsite in your agency where you can learn from structured exercises taking you through all the commonly-used features of RentPro and allowing you to ask questions specific to your agency and your way of working. If you feel that you could avail of one of our training packages, then please contact us directly to discuss your options.

5. Personal Approach

Any client that has been with us for any length of time will know individual members of the support team (Shenda, Brian, Diarmid and Adrian) and appreciate the individual and personal response that they receive to all but the most basic of queries. If we sense that someone is new to RentPro, or is struggling with a particular feature or concept, then we’ll spend that little bit extra time in detailing precise steps to resolve the query. If the support request relates to a balance or figure then we’ll actually review the RentPro account to determine how it has been arrived at. Your business is our business, and we’re always happy to hear that our fast, professional and personal support is often regarded as being one of our big advantages over the numerous property management software competitors. Consider the quote below which was sent to us at the end of a standard support request, which says it all…

“I just want to say that when I started my business 3 months ago I had worked for a large corporate for 19 years and had been spoon fed my letting system and setting up on my own this was my biggest concern but RentPro has been the best choice I could have made.

The system is simple enough for me to understand, does more than I anticipated using it for and your support when I have made a blunder has been fantastic.

If anyone ever asks me who I use for my letting system I would have no hesitation in recommending RentPro – I cannot sing your praises highly enough. ”

Christine, Rowan Properties, Wiltshire

 

One final tip…. If you’re evaluating a new piece of software then try raising a support request or two. If your query isn’t dealt with in a prompt and complete fashion at the trial stage when the vendor is trying to secure a paid subscription, then things will only be worse further down the line! If you’re not already a RentPro user, then why not put us to the test and avail of our 14 day free trial?

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