Customer service side of technology adoption
Questions you should be asking potential software providers
For well over a decade RMTs have continued to migrate to technology in their practices to simplify day-to-day business activities through online software, reduce time spent each day on patient administration and improve patient services.
Technologies vary from practice to practice but generally include PCs, tablets, smartphones, interactive websites and the associated software to efficiently manage the practice and provide convenient patient services. These tools are becoming prominent in the everyday operation of the practice and they all need to be setup correctly, kept operational and constantly updated.
Because technology is such an important part of the success of your practice, it is vital to receive system support services from your vendors in a timely, helpful and cost-effective manner.
Your management software may provide all the capabilities you are wanting – online appointment bookings, schedule management, patient recordkeeping, patient billing, financial reporting – but you also need to look beyond the features to see what service and support offerings are included in the subscription cost so you will have peace of mind.
Let’s look at some of the practical realities of implementing, managing and receiving technical and business support from your software provider.
Prior to subscribing to the software service, practitioners who are new to the software should expect personal hand-holding to help them get to know the system. This could include a one-on-one presentation, demonstrating the various features and functions of the system and allowing practitioners to ask questions specific to their practice. This will not only give them an idea of how the system will work in their work environment, but will also provide a preview of the kind of customer support they will receive from the provider later on.
In addition to the functional Q&A, practice owners should also ask exactly what the system vendor will provide in ongoing technical and business support services. Ask questions about how the support is provided. Do you get to speak with a live person when needed? Is toll-free telephone support offered? What is the typical response time for support requests submitted by email or via a support ticket? Is there an online knowledge database where self-help tutorials can be found to get quick answers to minor configuration questions? Is there a cost associated with the support, or is it included as part of the subscription fee? This type of concrete information will help to determine if the software vendor is right for the practitioner and the practice.
There is more to selecting a software solution than looking at the features and monthly fees – the on-going service is often where the rubber meets the road. The software needs to be intuitive and easy to use and self-help online tutorials must provide sufficient assistance in most day-to-day cases.
You should expect to receive personal interaction with a knowledgeable individual when needed and in a timely manner, to help you work through issues specific to the environment you are using the software in. This type of hand-holding is a necessity and is invaluable to the smooth operation of your practice. You need to be comfortable that your vendor is ready to assist in these instances and you want to understand the costs associated with this type of personalized support – ideally, it is part of the subscription fee.
As a software subscriber you may benefit from a truism that I heard quite some time ago from a mentor. He said that his technical and business support staff are humans too. They relate to and deal daily with a wide range of customers with diverse needs, technical abilities, expectations and temperaments. He said that customer satisfaction oftentimes depends on both parties working together to make the system work best for the client.
He was not saying that the client is expected to contribute to the “How to” technical aspect of the solution, but that both parties need to communicate what they want to accomplish and be open and flexible with the ultimate solution.
Problem solving should be a mutually beneficial two-way street.
While product features are designed to fulfill customer needs and continually evolve as such, customer service is what makes for long lasting business relationships with clients.
Until next time and Happy Holidays.
Jessica Foster writes on behalf of mindZplay Solutions, provider of massage therapy websites and practice management solutions. To learn more, visit www.massagemanedger.com.
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