Imagine you are at a car dealership looking to buy a new car. Since you have a taste for quality automobiles, you stroll onto a Subaru lot looking to buy a used Impreza STI.
You find the right model and color that you are looking for, it has a six-speed manual transmission, the engine and exhaust have that sweet hum you want, and it really moves!
It’s so beautiful! (Thanks for bearing with me while I flesh out why I want this car so badly.)
Now, while you are distracted with all of these features you love so much about the car, you forget to ask about what kind of warranties the dealership offers. You sign the paperwork and drive off in your newly purchased car.
Fast forward two months, and the transmission fails on a fluke. Since your car was used when you bought it, you call the dealership and come to find that they offer no warranty for used vehicles.
Now you are on the hook for a new transmission that will cost you anywhere between $1,000 and $3,500 to replace!
This is what it is like buying event management software without checking into what kind of software tech support is offered by a vendor. Sure, all of the features are cool and the user interface is pretty to look at, but if it fails to work, it is nothing more than a waste of space on your hard drive.
Don’t believe me? Check out these three reasons why you need to test the tech support of your event management software before buying—and how to do it.
1. “Poor Support” is the Second Highest Reason for Event Management Software Dissatisfaction
“That Works” – SLG recently published a survey of event management software users. The results showed an unusually high amount of respondents voicing dissatisfaction with their software (22%).
Why? Over a third (35%) were dissatisfied with their software’s support team. In fact, frustration with “poor support” were more problematic than how expensive the software was or how difficult it was to use.
Since so many users report event software has poor tech support, testing said support is that much bigger of a priority. Taking that extra time and effort to find the right software based on such criteria will pay off in the long run with less time and money spent.
2. Protect Yourself From Potential for Bugs and Glitches
Since only 8% of respondents reported that their software was “hard to use,” the implication is that the vast majority of support needs are for bugs and glitches. If users aren’t calling to figure out how to integrate email lists or send out invitations, they are calling because the software isn’t working properly.
(I bet tech support knows what “PC Load Letter” means.)
While checking reviews is important, they don’t reveal all of the software’s hidden problems.No software is flawless and having a tech support ready to help when things go wrong will save you many headaches down the road.
Just like the hypothetical Subaru Impreza I want so badly, which is far more useful when it is running, software is only useful when it works. Software support will make sure it works when you buy it and even months (or years down the road).
3. Searching for New Software is Time and Cash Consuming
When surveyed about the time spent searching for event management software, the majority of respondents spent between one to six months searching for the right software option. That is a lot of time spent browsing, researching, and testing to choose such an integral part of your organization.
A few months later and you find that your software support either falls short of your needs or is completely non-existent. Your guest lists keep disappearing into the black hole of the internet or the programs simply won’t launch. Whatever the problem is, the software vendor is doing little to nothing to help you and now you have wasted plenty of time and potentially thousands of dollars setting up a defunct system… sort of like the rollout of HealthCare.gov.
Now you have to make one of two choices, find a way to work on without the software or put more time, money, and effort into finding a replacement system. Another few months searching, hooray!
The only thing worse than having to go through a dreaded task is doing it twice.
Testing out the support systems of your software will lessen the likelihood of being stuck with a lemon for a system, and in the end your schedule and wallet will thank you for it.
What You Should Look For
If you’ve made it this far, chances are I have convinced you of the importance of testing tech support before purchasing software. So what should you be on the lookout for when testing?
While conducting demonstrations and working through trial periods be sure to communicate with the support departments in every possible area, especially for features used the most (attendee management, payment functionality, etc).
Take note of their response times and their courteousness. Also be sure to note the success rate at which they solve your problems. The more willing a vendor is to have you try every feature and service before buying, the more likely that software is well made and maintained. Competency is currency for a software vendor.
Don’t get me wrong, paying attention to prices and features is very important when selecting an event management software system, but what is the point if it doesn’t work in the end and costs you more money to fix?
You can’t put a price tag on peace of mind and quality tech support provides that peace of mind.
Have you ever had a bad run-in with tech support? When has your tech support come through for you? Let me know in the comments below!