Customer Support: The Board Portal Must Have
by Mashum Mollah Marketing 08 November 2016
Everyone who’s ever been through the process of adopting new technology to their company is familiar with the “must-have / nice-to-have” model of evaluating available products, so when you’re evaluating your options for board portal software, you’re going to create a list of the features your directors need and features they just want. As you go through this process, make sure you don’t underestimate your needs and wind up regretting your acquisition later. Security is one of those universal must-haves, but as you consider your options, you should slide customer support firmly into the must-have column.
Customer support plays an important role in both encouraging the adoption of this time-saving tool and making sure that directors are using it securely. What you may not know is what full-service support from a board management software vendor looks like; what you really need to know are the three pillars of successful technology onboarding.
#1 Vendor-Provided Training:
The initial training process should be thorough and entirely driven by the vendor, i.e. they provide one-on-one training sessions online rather than simply training one representative, like the administrator, who must then show busy directors the ropes. The quality of training degrades as it’s transferred this way, so it should always come directly from the source, and vendors should provide as much attention and energy as it takes for directors to feel comfortable using the technology. A better vendor will also offer ad-hoc training, following up with administrators and board members anytime after the initial process, which means that board members can use the technology with confidence.
#2 24/7 Support:
Live support from the vendor should be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, because you know never know when a director is going to need assistance. Doing board work while traveling is a popular way to stay on top of it all and that means users can wind up needing help in just about any time zone when they land. In order to meet their user’s demands, industry leaders such as Aprio offer live support on the phone around the clock.
#3 Ongoing Training:
Software companies are always improving their products by adding new features and capabilities and those improvements are available to all of their customers, not just new ones. However, since these features were not covered in your initial training sessions, directors may not be entirely sure how to make the most of them. In response, the customer support team at Aprio have responded by releasing quarterly webinars that take users step-by-step through new features, meaning users are always up-to-date on the product’s latest capabilities. Easy-to-understand webinars on a user-friendly platform are an important way to keep tech-adverse users engaged, rather than trying to regress back to older information distribution methods like paper or email.
One of the biggest hurdles to new technology adoption is user disengagement, where one or two users in a larger group refuse to take advantage of the benefits provided by a new service. In addition to full customer support, you can encourage adoption by gradually but firmly introducing the technology at first: provide critical documents like financial reports in paper versions at the meeting only until directors are sufficiently familiar with the product that you can forego paper altogether. It’s more secure, time efficient, and cost-effective, just make sure that customer support is at the top of your must-have list.