We are busy shortlisting candidates for a new help desk role based in our head office. With more than sixty candidates its is proving to be tough to trim the list to a more manageable mix for interview.
Our hiring process is structured like our help desk management – small business customer service focussed.
We are thrilled to be bringing our POS software user meetings to New Zealand next week – Monday and Tuesday. First in Auckland and then in Wellington, we will meet with our customers in a structured and open forum, outlining the latest software and encouraging suggestions for further enhancements.
Christchurch will be covered in a separate trip.
We have shared details with our customers and look forward to seeing them next week.
These latest meetings are an extension of our Australian national user meeting tour where the leadership of the company meets face to face with customers, answering questions, sharing insights and talking about the future of the software.
The new social media channel we opened over a week ago is receiving terrific traction and providing another customer facing / customer service opportunity. We are proud to offer this initiative and thrilled with Tower customer engagement.
Using social media in this way and giving our customers control over the conversation is empowering for them and valuable for us. We are excited to see where this goes.
We think too many software companies hide behind a corporate names rather than real people. We think they do everything possible to not talk with customers.
Here are Tower Systems we are the opposite. We like direct contact and appreciate the engagement from our customers.
An extension to our customer contact, this new channel will help reinforce the Tower Systems difference.
Several retailers at the Melbourne Gift Fair last week told us they will switch POS software to us because of the automatic updates in their current POS software.
Tower Systems does not do automatic POS software u0dates. We prefer our customers to decide which updates they want and to install them at a time of their choosing.
The complaints about automatic updates were specific. They reflect the challenges automatic updates present to small business retailers. Here are quotes from the retailers:
You turn the computer on and a downloading message comes up. You have to wait for this to be done before you can use it. When I turn the computer on I want to use it right away.
There is no advice what is in the update. You have to hope you pick up changes as you go.
They mustn’t test the software because almost every time there is an update something goes wrong.
It has been so bad I don’t trust the software any more. That’s why I am switching.
I call them but usually have to wait a day or two for them to call me back.
One update last year cost be a couple of hundred dollars because of mistakes they made.
Here at Tower Systems or software goes through a comprehensive multi-layered quality assurance process prior to us installing it in our shops. If it works fine there it goes to our opt-in beta sites. If it goes well with them it is slowly released for optional download by our customers at a time of their choosing.
POS software is critical to the successful operation of any business that uses it. This is why the business ownwr or manager has to have control about what updates are loaded and when. Otherwise, they do not have the control of their business they need.
Today, Saturday August 13, 2016, some of our senior management have been in retail, working in retail, engaged in retail customer contact and retailer contact – soaking up the real-world experiences that further inform decisions we make about our POS software.
In addition to owning and operating our own retail businesses, we get out in the field, on the shop floor and behind the counter learning from active engagement in retail to help us create even more useful retail management software.
We have agreed to be part of a working group with the Australian taxation Office to help our customers meet compliance requirements. Here are the details of the ATO invitation:
You are invited you to be part of a working group for the Software Assurance project. The intent of the project is to provide your clients with transactional certainty prior to lodgment, reducing the burden and cost of compliance.
We want to work with you to co-design solutions for your software products that help to reduce or remove common errors that trigger our analytics and subsequent audit action.
Common errors can include:
duplicated invoice or receipt numbers
incorrect or misclassification of supplies
We would also like to explore other opportunities to improve the internal governance and assurance processes your clients use, making it easier for them to get their tax and super obligations right.
In our weekly customer service email last weekend we put out a call for prospective candidates to connect with us for an opportunity to be trained to join our help desk. The process of bringing someone on to the help desk is structured with the new-hire receiving comprehensive training and in-store tutoring prior to taking calls live.
One of the benefits of participating in trade shows is being accessible to customers. This is what we are experiencing today at the Melbourne Gift Fair. Already, two and a half hours in, customers have stopped by our star for a chat and to catch up on software enhancements. We have also been able to ask questions and learn of more opportunities we can explore.
It is important for all software companies to be accessible to customers like this. Invaluable!
We are here at the Showgrounds for five days and energised for the opportunities we will encounter.
Today, Saturday, many POS software companies will be closed, providing barely basic services for their retail customers. Not Tower Systems.
Our Melbourne based office is open, offering live support to small business retailers. For the best support experience retailers want to be talking with someone based in an office with the full suite of tools at their disposal.
Access to the office is through capital city based numbers and a toll-free number in New Zealand.
Our after hours numbers are live and ready to support the office based service with over-flow calls if necessary.
Our senior management is online and accessible should such escalation be needed.
Our Knowledge Base is live and accessible.
More than 130 professional training videos are available from anywhere i the world to provide free, repeatable, training.
This level of Saturday service is rare for small business POS software companies. We are proud of this Tower AdvantageTM.
We are winning good business for our POS software this year from retailers switching from other POS software. While the software is a factor in their decision to switch, customer service is top of mind.
Customers switching love:
Personal service. When they call they talk to a human. And, yes, they can call any of our offices even toll free from NZ. We hear many stories of poor service from other POS software companies where personal contact is discouraged.
Names. Names matter. Were humanise our contact and support by people on our teams using their names, real names.
Access to leadership. Our leadership team is directly accessible to our customers should they wish to escalate any issue. Too often we hear of other POS software companies sidestepping issues or completely ignoring requests to speak too senior management. We take personal service seriously.
Free training weekly. People love our free and easily accessible live online training workshops.
Free one-on-one training. People love that they can schedule top-up training long after the installation is done.
Transparency on updates. People love that they can suggest changes and watch as other customers vote on their change suggestions.
Extensive help desk coverage. People love our long hours and our weekend coverage.
Response time. People love how quickly we respond to their queries.
These are points of difference we have invested in with infrastructure, people and management focus. We are thrilled to win business from other POS software companies because of these services we provide.
This whole package is part of our Tower AdvantageTM.
It is a thrill to see so many independent small retail businesses thriving through the winter of 2016. We are seeing businesses transforming from what has been traditional for their type of operation into fresh offerings that drive the appeal of the business beyond what has been traditional for them.
We love seeing this not only because of the pleasure of observing success but also because of a role we can play in helping to uncover and leverage good news for small business retailers.
Our commitment is to help our customers beyond the software to help them reach beyond the dreams they have for their businesses.
We are grateful every day for the opportunities that come our way.
Tower Systems for many years has given POS software customers control over setting support call priority. We regularly remind customers of the control they have through notes like this one in our weekly customer service email this week:
The speed with which we handle your support query is determined by the priority of the call. You can choose your own priority. Here are the call priorities:
P1. This is if your system is down. The most urgent call we can get.
P2. Urgent. We will deal with the call ahead of all others except P1.
P3. Pressing question But system not down. Return call goal 2 3 hours.
P4. Non urgent question. Goal of returning a call in 4 – 5 hours.
In allocating a call priority please take care to accurately reflect the situation.
Basket analysis is the analysis of products purchased by transaction – shopping basket. Such analysis typically compares two trading periods overall and by day of week. It also includes this analysis by supplier comparing trading periods and day of week.
Using the Tower Systems POS software, retailers are able to dig deep into basket data in recent times and into the past, to gain insights into the performance of the business for the benefit of the business and those it serves.
Basket analysis shows the efficiency of product categories (departments). For example, see how many baskets include one category of item and nothing else. You can also see the numbers of times sales are single item sales.
Basket analysis underscores the value to the business of newer categories such as gifts and toys.
Basket analysis at a supplier level is equally insightful, allowing you to compare the basket efficiency and value of suppliers between two tradition periods as well as across each day of the week between two trading periods.
It is at the basket analysis level that you can determine product efficiency. A product is more efficient for you if it is purchased with other items in our view. You can drive this by careful placement on the shop floor, promotion at the sales counter and working with customers on the shop floor to guide their purchases.
It’s an example of how you can use comprehensive business data to drive your in-store actions. For example, knowing what we know about pop vinyls, Saturday is the day we really focus on them with secondary locations to do even better from the Saturday opportunity.
Basket analysis can also help you with rostering. With some category sales requiring more staff time that others, you can consider the product mix sold by day and adjust your roster accordingly. Trimming wages is an important cost saving focus in business.
The goal has to be deeper baskets (more items per transaction) and a greater spread across product categories – but with a focus on higher margin items so that also lift the overall GP performance of the business.
In the Tower Systems software the report to use for this analysis is the Basket Analysis Report. It provides an extraordinary insight into baskets.
Here at Tower Systems we welcome new customers in a professional way – regardless of they are new because they purchased our software or new because they purchased a business running our software.
We send a welcome pack with our contact details.
We offer free training.
We offer access to up to date software.
We offer to review their data to guide how they can reset the business they have purchased from a tech perspective, reflecting the mission of the new owners as it may be different to the mission of the old owners.
Since our customers are not a number or a faceless relationship, we bring on all new customers in the same consistent way, delivering confidence they are partnered with a POS software company that cares for and about them and and providing a pathway forward focused on the best-practice use of our software to help the business achieve for them the goals they have.
Too often we see people buying a business become disconnected with suppliers because of a poor hand-over by the vendor or because of a disconnect with suppliers. Here at Tower Systems we don’t want that for any of our new customers.
Our customers are hearing a new voice on our help desk with Michael, a new team member filling a new position, an additional position, on our help desk. We are thrilled to be sharing this news. The process of bringing on a new team member takes time. Welcome Michael.
Note: we introduced Michael to our customers more personally in a recent customer email.
Tower Systems has a structures process in place for customer service contact with the business. This process has served Tower customers well as our user numbers have expanded to more than 3,500 retail businesses. The service is personal with our customers knowing the name of the person they are speaking with at each point of contact.
Because things can go wrong and expectations can sometimes not be met, we have an established escalation process to ensure our customers have access to more senior contact points in the business.
Here is the documented How to contact us information provided weekly to Tower Systems customers. This demonstrates are transparency as well as a commitment from the leadership team at Tower Systems about making contact with us easy:
HOW TO CONTACT TOWER SYSTEMS.
Monday to Friday 7am to 6pm AEST and Saturday 7:30am to 3pm.
If your retail business is near a polling booth, have fun today with more people being out and about.
If your retail business has been affected by slow sales in the run up to the election, not long to go now.
There is no doubt that election campaigns challenge some retail channels. This is why multi-layered multi-faceted marketing is key so you are not relying on one or two freeways of deliver traffic to your shop.
It has been a busy run up to the end of the 2015/16 financial year today. While the customer service side of the business has had the usual mix of calls for advice on being ready with necessary numbers as at the close of business today, our sales team, too, has been busy welcoming new customers to the Tower Systems community, new customers keen to start the new year with us.
Here is our short-form end of financial year advice for small business retailers:
Take a backup at the close of business on June 30 and store this in a safe place.
Produce a year on year sales comparison report – for your management benefit.
Produce a report of stock not sold in the last six months so you can kick off the new year with a mission.
Only do a stock take if your data management though the year has not been structured and consistent.
Yes, it is that simple. No longer does June 30 have to be crazy or stressful.
Here at Tower Systems we have been helping our POS software retail customers for months through free live online training workshops, regional user meetings, training videos and on on one support and advice, to be ready and to eliminate the need for a stressful June 30.
Tower Systems is taking its POS software for specialty retailers on the road, showing off its software capabilities to retailers in places usually not visited by POS software companies. In a series of events being hosted in regional locations, we are offering small business retailers excellent opportunities to see our smart POS software first hand, talk with software experts and, most important, talk with retail experts on how to get the best for a small and independent retail business from smart POS software.
This is Tower Systems showing off a valuable point of difference, bringing experts closer to local and small businesses, so people can see us face to face.
This is what small business retailers love about Tower Systems – that we are personal, in contact with our customers using real names and providing personal service from people they can speak with direct.
No call centres.
No offshore help desk.
No anonymous emails.
All our contact is real, personal and valuable.
These regional sessions will give business owners who are not our customers today an opportunity to connect with us and check us out for themselves.
We are sharing details direct to retailers in each regional area we will be visiting. We are not being too public with details here for competitive reasons.
The latest update of our POS software for small business retailers in a number of specialty retail channels has been released. This update, like all software updates, has gone through a comprehensive testing process internally and externally to ensure it is up to the standards our customers have come to expect from it.
The update releases a new integration, enhancements to another integration as well as software changes.
As with all of our software updates, our customers can choose if they wish to install the update and if so, when. This is the ultimate in user control.
Advice about the update was sent by email along with straightforward and peer-reviewed instructions for loading the update.
Our development team is advanced on the next update – we are excited about what is yet to come for our customers in 2016.
There is no additional charge for software updates.
It is a public holiday, for the Queen’s birthday even though it is not her birthday, today in all bar two states of Australia. While our main help desk is closed, we have an interstate office open and all calls to any of our numbers go through to there. Plus, our after hours support network is up and running.
Here at Tower Systems we understand small business retail and that we need to provide access to support when you need it. In addition to our 24/7 support, on saturdays we also provide access to office-based help desk support. Our Saturday team has access to more resources with which to help our customers. They provide a level of service beyond what retailers can be from a mobile service.
Take this morning, our Saturday team is already in the office and helming customers. Each call is a peace of mind opportunity for our customers, reminding them of the value of the personal and accessible service we provide.
For us and our customers this is a Tower AdvantageTM.