We were privy recently to correspondence between a POS software company and a customer from just before the customer switched to us. The correspondence is an example of how a tech company serving small business retailers ought not communicate with customers. The correspondence was rude, condescending and short on ethics.
In response to concerns raised about the time consuming nature of some functions in the software, the software company representative ignored the question and ranted on using technical terms to claim, more or less, that the customer would now know if the software was good as they were technically inept.
Yes, sometimes the customer is wrong. The key is to deal with this in a respectful and helpful way.
The communication we have seen was disappointing as it reflects badly on all software companies, especially those of us serving small business retailers.
Thankfully, we have switched the customer to our software and are providing respectful customer service that is restoring their faith in tech companies.
Tower Systems has implemented enhancements to its CRM, Customer Relationship Management System that provide team members in the company with better tools for serving customers. The enhancements provide new facilities commensurate with the growth we are experiencing and with changes in technology delivery platforms worldwide.
Software companies need quality tools if they are to deliver quality service to their customers.
Our work with the Sugar CRM system and the integrations we have made provide us to excellent service opportunities.
I am still amazed at what I can learn about your software and I’ve been using it for years already.
This is a customer comment to us from last week on discovering new training resources in our online knowledge base.
Our investment in regular enhancing of knowledge base content pays off this this type of customer love. It encourages us to do more.
New articles, new business advice and other new content each week make our small business POS software knowledge base a wonderful resource for our small business retailer community.
We especially love suggestions from customers on new content we can publish.
Here at Tower Systems we are transparent, letting our actions and our words here speak for us. This blog, for example, is a place of transparency that you can use to compare what we do and how we communicate.
We urge you to compare the content and professionalism of this blog with that of any competitor. Put the two side by side and see for yourself the Tower Systems difference – in words, design and visuals.
We are grateful to the 3,500+ small business retailers we serve for it is their insights and feedback that help make us what we are and this blog the useful place it is.
Tower Systems has published updated advice to help retailers transact in the unlikely event of their computer system not being available. This advice proved to be popular with our customers – we can tell from the considerable download count.
Small business retailers learn to rely on their POS software. If it becomes unavailable for some time and for reasons outside anyone’s immediate control it can challenge the business operations. This is why having a plan for survival is vital to the business.
Planning for contingencies such as a blackout, massive hardware failure or some other contingency is important in retail and we take our role in guiding retailers on best practice business management seriously here at Tower Systems.
This latest business management advice is part of a long-term commitment to publish advice that is useful, accessible and freely available for our small business retail customers.
We appreciate the thoughtfulness of suppliers and colleagues as they thank us at Christmas time. This year already we have received an abundance of gifts we are sharing with colleagues in-house.
This beautiful box of Krug Vintage 2000 will be especially appreciated. It is a fine drop.
While we are thrilled to work with so many wonderful companies and people in those companies in what we do here at Tower Systems, this special appreciation of the bottle of Krug from them is something for which we are most grateful.
Christmas cheer is in full taste.
We love Xero. While we link to multiple small business accounting solutions, Xero is the one receiving most praise by experts and good press on a number of fronts at the moment.
Tower Systems is proud to be an approved authorised Xero POS software partner, listed on their website.
We are not surprised to see a POS software competition ignoring Xero when rating accounting software. Their ignorance is not unexpected.
With all the talk of a change to GST arrangement in Australia, it is appropriate we note that any change to GST in terms of quantum and the products and / or services on which it applies would be easy for Tower Systems to manage.
The Tower Systems POS software today has all the facilities necessary for our customer to handle such changes without the need for a software update.
The Tower Systems designed and manufactured gift cards are growing in popularity across a range of retail channels. We are thrilled to be of service to retailers keen to offer professional gift cards backed by professional gift card management software as they have access to through their smart and engaged Tower Systems POS software.
The latest design customer gift cards are being shipped right now – pitching fresh designs to retail partners in time for Christmas trade.
The image loaded with this post shows some of the cards we have designed for our garden centre customers.
We are grateful to have in-house graphic design capabilities through which we can promote deeper engagement with our software.
We saw excellent sales processed yesterday in small business retail outlets in Australia as Christmas 2015 trade hits high gear.
Our personal and engaged service of retailers using our POS software sees us working with them on such a busy day to ensure their IT infrastructure genuinely helps them through the busy time.
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.
Basket analysis shows you 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.
Tower Systems is thrilled to have commenced the structured professionally managed beta release of a major POS software update. Representing many man-months of software development, this latest update delivers new facilities along with user-requested enhancements, taking our software into new areas and leveraging new opportunities.
We are grateful to our beta release sites and to all who have contributed ideas and inspiration to this latest release of our popular software.
Tower Systems offers CPA level help for retailers using the Xero accounting interface within our POS software. Guiding appropriate coding and ensuring the right data is linked to Xero, the level of help we provide is beyond what is usual for a POS software company.
Our Xero POS software link is best practice.
Beyond the help desk and beyond the usual IT support person assistance, our in-house accountant is able to help our customers to ensure accurate data and thereby leverage the better value achievable from the Xero link to the Tower Systems POS software.
We use Xero ourselves for two of our retail businesses and this enables us to speak from experience. This makes our advice more personal and experience based than what is usual for a POS software company.
Our accounting link experience includes Quicken and MYOB as well as Xero. It is the Xero experience we like the best, the accounting solution we have enjoyed the most.
This is another POS software Tower AdvantageTM.
While we welcome the innovation statement by the federal government this week, we think they could have done more in support of Australian owned software companies supporting efficiency improvements for Australian businesses.
Take what we do here at Tower Systems – we help small and independent retailers run more efficient, and therefore more profitable, businesses. The economic benefit is considerably beyond the cost of the software.
Being 100% Australian owned, long established and self-funded, we would use a benefit, such as a tax break, to invest in more software innovation. This means more jobs and more benefits for our customers.
We think this type of support would have a more immediate economic benefit. Indeed, the benefits would be upstream and downstream.
Thanks to the work we have done with many product suppliers to pet retailers, Tower Systems is able to help pet retailers save time on receiving new inventory. Loading invoices and loading stock files is easy with our pet shop software. We cut keystrokes and through this save time. New stock is put out faster and employee time is freed for more important work in the business.
We encourage pet retailers to compare pet shop software as it is only Tower Systems that has the extensive connections with and support for pet retail business suppliers. This position has grown from our platinum sponsorship of the industry association and our work with core industry buying groups.
Pet retailers and their employees looking at these facilities in our software love what we help them achieve.
This is another POS software Tower AdvantageTM.
We are thrilled our latest POS software is starting a managed beta release. This update is extraordinary in what it delivers. Enhancements go to the core of our POS software. We are excited for customer reactions.
Finding retailers keen to participate in the beta program leading up to Christmas was not difficult.
Christmas is hamper season for many retailers and Tower Systems helps retailers easily and confidently make, manage, sell and deconstruct hampers.
We track all the components of a hamper, special package pricing, sales history, customer engagement and, if necessary, the breaking down of hampers to single items should a hamper not sell.
Making it easy to manage hampers helps the Tower software be selected by gift shops, bike shops, pet shops, garden centres and other retailers where hampers are an important part of the Christmas trade.
Our work in the hamper space started years ago when we sold our software to a hamper specialist. They guided us to develop smarter tools and these sit in the core POS software we offer to retailers today.
Hampers are a terrific way for local small retailers to pitch a point of difference. Our software makes hampers easy to manage and sell. More important, our software makes it easy to leverage for next season.
This is another POS software Tower AdvantageTM.
Here are tell-tale signs a POS software company fails its customers:
- Software is updates without advance notice and without allowing small business retailers to choose whether to use the update or not.
- Support calls take hours or days to be responded to.
- No regular free training.
- No user meetings.
- No easy to navigate plain English online advice.
- No comprehensive video training library.
- No transparent process for choosing what is in software updates.
- No easy ace to senior management or the ownership of the company.
POS software companies that fail in these and other ways damage the reputation all software companies. They make our job harder.
Tower Systems helped another newsagent switch to our newsagency software last week by showing how to process magazine returns compared to the software the newsagent had been using.
Comparing the process step by step between our software and the other company software they were using, the newsagent soon saw the time they would save and the mistakes they would eliminate with our more professional software. This newsagent will cut paid hours by between eight and ten man-hours a month. That is a saving of close to $300.00 a month.
There is no doubt that owning a newsagency makes it easier for us to ensure our software is best-practice, that it is a solution for newsagents rather than a solution for computer programmers.
Now more than ever the difference between newsagency software packages is extraordinary. We appreciate opportunities to show off what we do and how we supplier newsagents through our software and through our support
This is another POS software Tower AdvantageTM.
Here is a list of POS software training available for small business retailers in the lead up to Christmas. Tower Systems is thrilled to be appropriately resourced and managed to be able to offer these free training opportunities that are a genuine point of difference for us:
- Don’t miss a sale this Christmas! Use Gift Vouchers Wednesday, 09 December 2015 02:00pm
- Free up cash in your business today Wednesday, 16 December 2015 02:00pm
Fifty of our team members and partners members joined in a company Christmas party yesterday is an American BBQ restaurant in Melbourne. We took over the whole venue, spread across several tables. It was a terrific celebration and kicked on into the evening.
We have more Christmas events to follow.
Here are some tips from us on how to more effectively compete with a big business competitor located near your small business:
- Know what you can and can’t do. Some big retailers spend tens of millions of dollars saying they are the cheapest. A small business cannot match that spend. So, price should not be your focus as it is a harder road. If you do choose to pitch on price, you need to do it comparatively and consistently. List their price and your price. However, the risk is they will chase you down that hole and their pockets are deeper than yours. I recommend against competing on price.
- Understand the new competition locating near you. Research them, visit their store, look carefully at what they do. Understand, from a rational perspective, why they are a successful national company. Visit several times. Try and talk to customers. Knowledge gained from such field trips will empower your planning and decision making.
- Focus on your point of difference. If you do not have on, get one, develop one. Own it. Ensure your business owns it. If it is service, make it better, if it is range, make it better., If it is that you are local, shout this from your rooftop. Your point of difference needs to be seen, heard and understood by your customers and those who would be your customers. If you do not think you have an obvious point of difference, work hard to build one and embed this deep within your business.
- Promote your business. Professionally. Be smart. Big businesses are usually big advertisers. You need to advertise too. To the level you are able within your business. This could be in the local newspaper, on local radio, in flyers to homes or even with a terrific display in your front window. Promote your business and in particular your point of difference. Small businesses can win in social media with locally-focussed pitches which demonstrate your local connections.
- Network locally. Connect with community groups, charities, sports groups, schools, clubs and friends. A small local business can do this better than a big business. Find a way to connect and help. This will be appreciated and, hopefully, rewarded with business. Strong networking can help you get more people on your side and supporting your business through strong word of mouth.
- Have a consistent loyalty offer. This needs to be different to what major retailers do. It needs to be whole of business. It has to offer genuine rewards which get people shopping your shop rather than staying within a category. This is where discount vouchers work.
Small business retailers love being able to talk directly with our software development experts.
Our customers love being able to find out more about the software, discuss future plans and explore opportunities beyond what may be covered in a help desk discussion.
Too many software companies hide their development experts away from customers. Not Tower Systems.
Our leadership team and out software development team are accessible to our customers, giving our customers an advantage over retailers using POS software from companies that do not provide such transparency.
This is a Tower systems difference, an advantage for our retail partners over others, a way we help our retailers and how they help us as we have a shared goal of providing the best solution for we know that will help us grow market share.
We have tested a new stock file for Henderson Greetings and made this available through our website.