How often has your organization adopted a new system that left you with more questions than answers? Shep Hyken, author and expert on customer service, says, "Customers don't just buy a product; they invest in the support that comes with it. The quality of support determines the value they truly receive." Unfortunately, not all support teams are built the same.
When school districts invest in a product to help them, they aren't just throwing money at a solution. They're looking for a partnership. They want a company that adds value to their operations and makes their job easier. So, the support embedded within any ERP solution should be a given-not an afterthought.
There's little worse than purchasing a product at a high cost and then also having to figure out how to use it on your own. Initial training sessions are great, but additional support layers are required after a project has gone live to maximize system usage and mitigate risk. That's where meaningful user support plays a critical role.
User support refers to the services and assistance provided to individuals using a particular product within your organization. It should be designed in a way that helps users resolve issues, answer their questions, and ensure a positive experience with the product or service. High-quality user support can provide the following results:
Adopting and using an ERP system requires some degree of technical aptitude. But with any new system, learning and understanding its uses takes time. That's why effective and timely customer support is critical. Unfortunately, ERP users can face many challenges in their support journey. But it's not just the technical issues themselves; it's not getting the help they need when they need it most that is the bigger problem. Here are some of the most common challenges across finance and HR teams:
Nothing's more frustrating and disruptive than when a customer waits a long time for a response or resolution. They can only proceed once they receive the necessary help to resolve the issue. This causes obstacles for users, hindering progress in completing their work.
Delayed responses don't just impede someone's work, it impacts critical areas like payroll, for example. It causes more than just frustration; it affects people's livelihoods. Imagine being unable to pay staff on time because payroll is waiting for an issue to be fixed.
High-level customer support requires deep product knowledge and expertise. Unfortunately, some ERP companies struggle to adequately train their support teams, so they cannot offer effective troubleshooting and guidance to their customers. As a result, customers feel underserved and think their software provider does not truly understand their needs.
ERP companies might outsource their support to shave off costs to the end user. While outsourcing support functions can offer cost advantages, it can create:
This can make it difficult for customers to get help, exacerbating their frustration even more.
ERP systems can be quite complex depending on the system and the level of customization. Customers often need help with technical issues, and insufficient support can hinder their ability to use the system to its fullest extent.
Many individuals cite needing advanced technical knowledge to leverage the full breadth of the system. The lack of documentation and support post-go-live can leave customers unprepared to navigate and make the most of their ERP system in the long term.
The quality of support can vary within the ERP industry. Certain companies offer excellent support during the initial stages. But, as customers' needs evolve or more complex issues arise, their customer support vanishes.
Without access to knowledgeable support personnel, customers can't:
Once again, a lack of ongoing customer support prevents districts from using and deriving value from their investment.
ERP systems often require heavy customization to align with the specific needs of K-12. This is typical because most solutions are designed for the for-profit industry (think manufacturers, distributors, or other revenue-generating businesses). To avoid this, find software optimized for education that gives you access to critical features upfront. You should be able to easily remove what you don't need as well, saving you time and valuable resources on the project.
That said, some K-12s may still have requirements unique to their district, which software providers should anticipate. Unfortunately, many of them offer little to no support for customizations after a project has gone live. Whether you're a district of 500 or 5,000, having the flexibility to customize your ERP solution can help things run more smoothly. Your software provider should be able to support those customizations throughout your journey.
It's also not uncommon for customer support teams to prioritize the needs of larger districts over smaller ones, limiting the level of support you may receive, especially when they hear "customization."
When users have to contact customer support, a heightened level of frustration mounts after a ticket is left open for some time. Nobody wants to get passed from one representative to another, be on lengthy holds or, the worst offense: lose their connection.
Customers need clear escalation paths and processes when dealing with complex or critical issues. These are necessary to reach the proper support personnel or resolve their problems promptly. Delays or miscommunications prolong issue resolution times and diminish customer satisfaction, which, unfortunately, is a common recurrence with many software providers out there today.
When it comes to ERP software, many solutions on the market can be less intuitive than one might expect. They need a considerable amount of setup and customization to perform essential functions. That's why there are so many benefits to going with a familiar platform like Microsoft. If you've already used products like Microsoft Word or Excel, you'll find ERP systems like Sparkrock 365 a lot more intuitive than others.
Sparkrock seeks to provide its users with unparalleled customer support. No matter their size, each organization deserves a partner to aid them in their daily work. When districts choose Sparkrock 365, they feel supported by an end-to-end solution.
Here are just a few things that Sparkrock 365 users can expect from the get-go:
In addition, accurate tracking of bug-related cases enables their software development team to identify and address issues more efficiently, reducing the risk of recurring problems while prioritizing critical issues. With enhanced traceability, Sparkrock is better equipped to make product improvements, enabling K-12s to stay ahead of trends in education technology.
When a school district invests in an ERP system, they need to understand how it's working for them. Sparkrock support provides organizations with a monthly snapshot and status report of each support case and shares performance indicators related to the quality of their service.
Their customer-centric approach helps by:
Customers who adopt any ERP system deserve a commitment to excellence, guidance, and support. Are you ready to partner with a more supportive ERP solution? Contact us today to get started!