Red Wing Software Blog

Business insight to help you stay profitable and move ahead

Welcome Guest

Go to Home Page  |  Share

5 Ways to Get Good Tech Support

clock March 4, 2011 7:51 AM by author carolea

I recently ran across a blog that had great information for anyone who calls tech support for assistance. It doesn’t matter if you’re calling for help on your accounting software, your computer or your cable tv, the posted information can help you get your assistance in a quick and friendly way.

Thank you to librarianinblack.net for the great reminders on how we can all get better technical support. http://librarianinblack.typepad.com/librarianinblack/2007/07/5-ways-to-get-g.html

5 Ways to Get Good Tech Support

As someone who has both given and received copious amounts of tech support, I thought I could offer a few pointers on what works and what doesn't. If you have anything to add, please leave a comment!

  1. Don't be afraid or sheepish to ask for help. If I got a nickel for every time someone came to me asking for help saying "This is a stupid question," or "I'm sorry to ask you this, but...", well, I'd be rather wealthy. This is what the tech support people are there for! It's their job. You can certainly be nice to them, but don't be afraid to straight-out ask for help.
  2. Ask for help right away. Instead of plugging away for hours to try to figure out a problem, go ahead and tap their expertise early. The earlier you get to them, the less frustrated you will be and the more likely that you will have a pleasant interaction.
  3. Explain what you are trying to do when something went wrong and then what happened--exactly. Please don't give the whole story about where you are trying to go with your project and why you are trying to do what you're doing, and why you hate this particular program... If you can list the exact steps that took you to the problem point and then what happened, including any error messages you saw and screenshots, that will help the tech support person help you.
  4. Keep your goal in mind. Remember your goal is to get good tech support and to get your problem solved. So many tech support people get burned out. They're dealing with problems all day, never anything nice or a "wow this works great!" Remember that the tech support people are not the ones who built the product that is annoying you; they are the ones who are trying to help you. They want to help you. Remembering that, it will serve you well to say thank you when the solution is solved, and to be pleasant to the person during the interaction.
  5. Don't turn your emergency into someone else's. This goes out beyond tech report, but it also applies here. When we find ourselves in an emergency, or we left something to the last minute, we become crazed. As a result, we infect others around us with our craziness. If you infect tech support with your panic, you will not only get worse service, you will probably become "that guy" -- the person that the tech support people avoid in every possible way. You don't want to be "that guy," so calm down, get the help you need, and continue solving your emergency.

When calling about help with software issues, there are a few additional things to keep in mind…

  • Start with a reboot of your pc before you call support. They are machines and machines have fluky days too. Sometimes just simply rebooting (Shutdown or Restart) can correct the problem.
  • If you receive an error, write it down or take a print screen of it. And if you can, note exactly what key strokes or actions were processed right before the error was displayed.
  • Take a minute to think about what has changed on the computer recently? Did the operating system do an automatic update? Was a new printer or other hardware installed? Were any software updates installed (for the software having problems and others; sometimes an update to something like virus protection software can affect other programs installed on the same pc).


How Does the 80/20 Rule Apply To You?

clock February 28, 2011 10:54 AM by author StephanieE

Ah, the 80/20 rule. I am sure that at some point in your business or personal life, you have heard of it. Also known as the “Pareto Principle”, this rule says that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. We do use this rule here at Red Wing Software within our software products. When applied to product inventory, the rule says that 80% of your sales are from 20% of your inventory items. Knowing which items of the 20% are garnering the most sales can be crucial to growing your profits. That's where ABC analysis can come in handy. An ABC analysis within your accounting program can show you which items are most profitable. Our accounting software offers ABC analysis, which is an excellent tool for businesses.

But all science and math aside, have you ever noticed that the 80/20 rule can also apply to real life? As I think of my life, I can think of a few examples of where this rule might apply. For instance, about 80% of my free time is spent watching hockey and transporting my son to games. Yet when I originally signed him up, I would have thought it to be much less time consuming. My son’s hockey really only constitutes about 20% of the ways I love to spend my free time. Therefore, my surprisingly full and hockey-packed free time fits with the 80/20 rule!

What are some examples of the 80/20 rule in your life? Answers need not be serious or technical.



Three Unconventional Ways to Keep In Touch with Your Customers

clock February 25, 2011 9:10 AM by author StephanieE

I can still remember when the only way of reaching out to someone was by phone or mail, or in person. I know that many of you can too, even though the children in our lives are baffled when we tell them we had to actually just figure out plans ahead of time, talk in person, and sometimes, just wing it because we didn’t have a cell phone to call anybody. Of course, now there are cell phones, texting, e-mail, instant messaging, Facebook, and so many more ways of reaching people! Here are some unconventional (and also not too painful) ways to take advantage of today’s technology to stay in touch with your customers.

  1. E-mail a useful document

    You can find an unbelievable amount of information on the internet for free, including case studies, white papers, marketing tips, research information, instructional videos and much more! The next time you find something that could be useful to one of your customers, send them that document via e-mail. It only takes a few minutes to send, and your customer will appreciate the fact that you thought of them!

  2. Invite them to connect.

    Some of you are probably thinking, “This is not an unconventional way of communicating—it’s the norm.” But for some people, connecting via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter is uncharted territory. A great place for a business to start connecting with customers on the internet is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a network of business professionals and is a place where you can learn all about your customers (if they are members), meet new contacts, join industry groups, answer business related questions, and much more. It’s completely free, too. Visit www.linkedin.com to learn more. In fact, I’d love to be your first connection! Click here to see my profile and invite me to be your connection.

  3. Invite them to a trade show.

    You are likely in an industry similar to your customer, so why not invite them to come along to the next trade show? If you are an exhibitor, some trade shows will pass out free passes for you to hand out to your customers. Take advantage of this, and provide your customers added value by letting them get in the doors for free. By the way, click here to view the Red Wing Software trade show calendar. If you are a customer interested in attending, we may be able to help. Send an email to marketing@redwingsoftware.com with a subject line of TRADE SHOW to learn more. Please include your customer name.



Payroll Software or Payroll Service - Six Important Considerations to Choose the Best Payroll Option

clock February 21, 2011 2:24 PM by author StephanieE

Processing payroll on time is crucial to the management of your business. As your company grows, you may find that payroll processing becomes more complex with tax requirements, multiple employee types, increasing deduction types, and much more. To efficiently manage your payroll, you will need to choose the best options for your business to process payroll allowing you to continue to pay your employees on time, ensure taxes are filed promptly by due dates and still have access to the information you need.

  1. Cost

    As your number of employees grows, so do your labor expenses. Many people start their business using a payroll service, yet as business increases, they realize the expense grows out of hand. Once the cost of using a payroll service starts to outweigh the convenience, you may be ready to bring your payroll processing in-house and use payroll software.

  2. Staffing

    Whether you use a payroll service or payroll software, you will need somebody to manage the process. Functions such as collecting employee pay data and editing employee information will need to be manually entered into a payroll software system or delivered to a payroll service.

  3. Tax Filing

    Probably the biggest benefit to processing payroll with a service is their guarantee that they will file your taxes in a timely manner. However, payroll software providers currently offer online tax filing or complete tax filing fulfillment options. These options make the Federal and State tax filing processes much easier.

  4. Control

    Some companies need or desire tight control over their payroll. Some reasons for this include having a large number of employees or the need to track data by different departments. Companies needing control of their payroll are better suited, in most cases, to processing payroll in-house using payroll software because often times a payroll service cannot provide the flexibility they need. With in-house payroll software, changes can be made instantly and there is no need to wait for somebody else to make them.

  5. Security

    Obviously pay data is sensitive, and should be protected. With in-house payroll software, be sure the system offers security tools so that only authorized employees can see certain screens or data. A system with menu level security is helpful so that certain users can only see the screens you give them access to within the system. With a payroll service, if you are entering data online, be sure your service offers security measures so your data cannot be captured by somebody else.

  6. Reporting

    Every business has a different set of payroll reporting needs. Perhaps you want to know labor expenses by department or expenses for just one or a combination of your locations. Typically, there is more flexibility in reporting when you are using an in-house program with report editing capabilities. If you are using a service, be certain your service provider can give you the data you need, when you need it.

There are variations of product offerings among payroll software providers as well as payroll service providers. No matter which method you choose, be sure to consider all of the above so that your payroll runs smoothly.



How Ratio Analysis can Help Your Business

clock February 18, 2011 9:43 AM by author StephanieE

One of the great benefits of accounting software is the ability to slice and dice your data so that it means something to you and your business. Well, consider ratio analysis an extension to your standard reports. Why? Because ratio analysis gives you information not found in your standard financial reports. It goes a step further by helping you pinpoint areas of strength and weakness in your business, so you can increase profits and reverse negative trends.

How do you stack up?

Ratio analysis allows you to make comparisons between your business and your competitors’. You can view standard industry trends, so you understand where your business stands in comparison. Once you know where you stand, you get an idea of which areas of your business to improve, giving you a distinct advantage over your competitors.

Just the facts, please.

It’s one thing to have ratio analysis data, and still another to understand where the numbers came from. Use your ratio analysis tool to generate the data, and then drill down further to understand exactly what makes up those numbers. This allows you to understand patterns within your business, so you can make better management decisions moving forward.

See the forest through the trees.

There is power in looking at details up close, but even more in being able to compare your data from two different time frames. Maybe last year wasn’t profitable and you want to turn it around. Or maybe you struggled last month and want to know why. Use ratio analysis as a high-level tool to see trends over longer periods of time, so you can achieve long-term financial growth.

By using ratio analysis, you can access information and trends that you may not have noticed, so you can make changes accordingly, which will benefit your business!



Calendar

<<  April 2018  >>
MoTuWeThFrSaSu
2627282930311
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30123456

View posts in large calendar