One of Red Wing Software’s core values is to have fun. As an example, while I’m writing this, I hear a chorus of voices singing Happy Birthday in someone’s office. Don’t get me wrong, everyone takes their respective job seriously and wants to live up to our Vision – “Creating the Best Management Software Experience.” But, occasionally, a bean bag tournament will break out.
When you work with the best people and have great customers, then get them together, as we recently did at a classroom training in our Minnesota office, it’s hard not to enjoy the experience. On several occasions over the three-day training, attendees would ask, “Can I meet (fill in the blank)? I talk to them all the time and would like to put a face to the name.” We’d get them together, and then I’d hear the customer say, “I’m the person that always calls and bugs you about …”. Of course, the answer from our staff is always, “You’re not bugging me; that’s my job and we’re here to help. We would much rather you call and get help than struggle and get frustrated. We like to hear from you.”
Our team really does enjoy doing their jobs. During one of the breaks, a customer wanted to discuss something they were struggling with in the software, and had a suggestion for a new feature. Within about two minutes we had a small team assembled to hear what the issues were and find ways to help. Believe me when I say, “These team members didn’t drop what they were doing just because I asked them to - they truly wanted to know what we could do to improve the customer experience.”
Join us in having fun, and help us have fun by letting us help you.
I recently read an article in Software Executive magazine about customer success. While this information related specifically to the software industry, it could easily be applied to virtually any business. The story talked about going beyond just answering your customers’ questions and focused more on getting the users of your product to use more of the capabilities built into your product.
At Red Wing Software, we have a team that focusses on creating helpful information for using our software. This includes installation instructions, getting started guides, online documents and videos that help our users navigate through the processes of getting information into the software, and running the reports needed to make informed financial decisions for your business.
In addition to these helpful documents, videos, and “How2” instructions, we offer multi-day classroom training, one and two-hour webinars on specific functionality, and on-site professional services. While we try to make it as easy as we can to use the software, we are spending additional resources to help our customers get more out of their software investment.
I challenge everyone to take a look at the product or service they sell and look for ways to help your customers get more out of your offering. You have invested a lot of time, money, and energy to create the products your business offers. Are your customers taking advantage of all the effort you have invested, or are they just using enough to get by?
I also challenge all of our customers to take advantage of what we have created over the last 39 years of software development. Poke around a little in the many reports in the system. You can’t hurt anything in your data by running reports, and you might find some valuable information about your business that you can use to be more profitable.
In July, a few staff members from Red Wing Software participated in two different conferences discussing current accounting and technology issues. The first event was a meeting of Certified Public Accountants that takes place every other year. I was fortunate enough to be a presenter on two different panels during this conference, talking about current technologies specifically related to accounting. The other conference was a meeting of professionals dealing with standards for gathering and reporting financial data for specific vertical markets. Dick Moore, Development Manager, and Julie Strain, Sales Engineer, presented information on management accounting implementation and challenges.
At both meetings, one of the major topics of discussion was the effects and consequences of the new tax laws on businesses. These discussions ranged from new depreciation rules, to the issues on the effect of taxes owed by a C Corporation, S Corporation, and Sole Proprietor. It was clear that there are still many questions about some of these new rules, and how they will be interpreted. We are still waiting for some guidelines from the IRS on how some of these changes should be handled.
I’m no tax expert, but one thing is clear: it will be more important than ever to be working with people that are experts on the subject. The best thing that each of us can do in our business is to keep the most accurate records possible, so when we work with our accountants and consultants to calculate taxes owed at year-end, we can provide the level of detail these experts need to accurately help us complete our tax forms.