5 Questions to ask about a Provider's Tech Support - Before you Buy!

tech supportOne of the most important pieces of the puzzle when choosing an accounting system is what sort of technical support does your software provider offer. Choosing the right system, at the right cost, with an experienced consultant to implement the system is important. But what happens after your help leaves and something goes terribly wrong?  Who do you call - the consultant that implemented the system or the software company who sold you the software?

Here are some questions to ask your provider before purchasing your software:

1. Does your software provider offer technical support?

Before calculating the cost of your new system, be sure you’re adding the implementation costs as well as the yearly technical support fee to the cost of the system. Do not underestimate the importance of technical support.

2. 24/7! How often is support available?

If you have a technical problem with the system, you may not want to wait until the next business day before the issue is fixed.  Problems with hardware, software or databases should be resolved as quickly as possible, especially when issues tend to arise during mission critical times.  Often a vendor support line may only be available during “business hours” but your consultant may be willing to give you a cell phone number for after-hours contact.

3. How are technical issues resolved, via phone or remote session?

Sometimes talking someone through a technical issue is not as effective as actually walking someone through it. The ability for a support technician to access your data and remote in to your problem is far more effective and less stressful than simply trying to explain the solution.

4. Are the providers’ technicians trained in all areas?

If you are implementing new modules, third party products, or highly technical solutions (such as integration or custom programming), make sure you have access to technicians able to support these solutions. Getting specific names of individuals or perhaps an elevated level of response may be helpful.  Having trained, experienced technicians is more important than just having a ‘problem solver’ available.

5. What is your Specific Service Level Agreement?

This should include uptime, security, and customer service metrics such as response time and unresolved issue escalation. If you have a problem, and your issue is not resolved in a reasonable manner, what is your recourse?

Bottom line

In most cases, accounting software is only as good as the people behind it. Without the proper support, the software will not provide the optimal return on your investment.  It is crucial that a software provider offer on demand technical support that is easily accessible and results in quick resolution of issues.

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