5 Ways to Get Good Tech Support

Thank you to librarianinblack.net for this blog post which features the great reminders on how we can all get better technical support. Visit this link to see the full post. http://librarianinblack.typepad.com/librarianinblack/2007/07/5-ways-to-get-g.html

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).

Happy Retirement, Carol!

Carol Dicke with her retirement cake

After almost 30 years, Carol Dicke, Finance Manager at Red Wing Software, retired in November. Carol is one of the first employees that helped the company grow from just a few hard working employees to a place where many dedicated people write and sell the software and support to customers. Carol handled all of the internal accounting needs of the company. Outside her normal accounting duties, Carol was also quite often in charge of fun. She coordinated the company golf outings and most recently - a marshmallow driving competition that Red Wing Software held in conjunction with the United Way fundraising week. Starting in December, Carol will be bowling, camping, and golfing around the country with her husband, Keith!

Happy Thanksgiving - What are You Thankful For?

Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on those things we are thankful for! I would personally like to take this opportunity to say that I am thankful for my job here at Red Wing Software. I look forward to coming to work here every day! I really appreciate the way every single employee at Red Wing Software is considered a valuable asset, and we are always treated that way.

I am also thankful for Red Wing Software customers. I am fortunate to be able to talk to some of you on the phone now and then, and it’s great getting to know you a little better. I appreciate the loyalty our customers have to Red Wing Software! Thank you so much for being a Red Wing Software customer and allowing me to work for a great company.

So how about you? What are you thankful for?

Top Ten Reasons to be a Red Wing Software Customer

Let our customers tell you themselves! Here are the top ten reasons to be a Red Wing Software customer.

  1. Forward technology:

    “I am so proud to know that you all work diligently to make your program the best. Please keep up the good work and thank you all so much.” Pamela, from Marked Tree, Arizona

  2. Industry leadership:

    “The Red Wing organization is a consistent and dependable leader in business systems.” Doug, of Goodland, Indiana

  3. Bigger companies aren’t always better:

    “Thanks for a very efficient, easy to understand and use system that has more accurate, up to date features than a large, very large, corporation has to offer.” Sarah, from Tecumseh, Nebraska

  4. Reasonable price:

    “CenterPoint Payroll′s feature set was appealing for its cost, which was a large motivator for us,” Aaron says, “It′s a feature-rich program at a reasonable cost.” Aaron, from Milbank, South Dakota

  5. Makes your job easier:

    “Navigating around in CenterPoint Payroll is really easy. Compared to the older payroll system we were using, it is much easier to complete tasks like looking up employees or other information when I need it. Being able to access this information more quickly saves significant time!” Pam, of Fairmont, Minnesota

  6. A partner to your business.

    “I want to acknowledge your company for being so supportive. I think you′re doing a great job and I know I can count on you if I have questions or technical issues. Thank you.” Erin, from Mountlake Terrace, Washington

  7. Saves you time:

    “We are extremely pleased that we complete the payroll process about forty percent faster with CenterPoint Payroll than with our previous software.” Garry, from Miller, South Dakota

  8. We don’t do high pressure sales.

    “I was especially impressed with our sales rep, Matt. Instead of just giving us the answers we wanted to hear, Matt dug in and researched to find us the right answer, even with our more challenging requirements. I appreciated his hard work and honesty—it was a very painless process.” Todd, from Taylor, Texas

  9. Excellent technical support:

    “We got WAY more than our money′s worth with the Customer Care Technical support plan that we purchased,” Rae Ann, from Plover, Wisconsin

  10. Saves you significant money:

    “We estimate the money we’ll save by making the switch from a service to CenterPoint to be about $10,000 per year.” Jeanette, from Racine, Wisconsin

How does Red Wing Software determine which software enhancements will be made?

All accounting and payroll software changes originate from somewhere! First, there are the changes mandated by the government, such as tax rate changes and the recent FUTA changes, for which we create payroll updates and make them available to our customers. Secondly, there are bug fixes, or changes to the program that solve issues and problems. Then, there are other changes, and those come from customer comments and suggestions.

In fact, outside of mandated changes and bug fixes, 100% of Red Wing Software enhancements come from customer comments and suggestions. You might wonder how such changes are managed, since we have customers all over the U.S. and in other countries. The truth is, we get suggestions every day! Here is how they are handled for maximum customer satisfaction.

  1. When a comment or suggestion is given, it is entered into a knowledgebase, otherwise known as a database that holds enhancement suggestions.
  2. The knowledgebase is mined frequently, and suggestions are prioritized by which items will benefit the most people.
  3. A management team chooses as many suggestion items as time allows for and turns those into action items for the development team.
  4. Enhancements are made, tested and released, and customers are notified. The process starts again.

With these processes in place, we make sure our customers have a voice in the enhancements of the software they use to run their organization.