POS software help desk transparency is loved by small business retailers

Small business retailers love that they can see how business our help desk is at any given time. This information empowers them. It also provides a level of transparency that is rare from POS software companies.

Through our website, our customers can see calls in the queue, calls resolved that day and more.

Too often, POS software companies hide this information from their customers, leaving them in the dark about what lies ahead in terms of wait time or help desk call volume. We have found that transparency is appreciated. This is our commitment.

It is one thing to claim rapid response to POS software help desk calls and another entirely to show, with evidence, that this is what is happening. The evidence we provide is unedited, untouched. We appreciate that our customers love it.

Helping small business retailers reduce the opportunity of employee theft

At our POS software company we actively help small business retailers who use our software to reduce the opportunity of employee theft. We do this in a range of overt and covert ways, through our software and outside off our software.

As we have decades of experience running different types of retail businesses and through our work with, 3,500+ other retailers with our software we have a deep pool of knowledge and experience on which to draw.

Employee theft is something to be managed. By managed, we mean measured, understood and mitigated.

based on our own experiences and those of others we trust, we offer refined, thoughtful, advice on managing employee theft. Here we share it with all as a free community service for small business retailers. Together, we can cut the cost of employee theft in your retail business:

  1. Track your stock. Receive all stock into your business through your computer system so you know exactly what sock you have.
  2. Scan everything you sell. Do not use department keys as this makes it easier for employees to steal since they know there is no trackback to stock on hand. Using department keys is an invitation to steal.
  3. Track every sale by employees. Give your employees a card with a unique barcode or have them enter a code – to track every sale they make back to them. Change the code every six months or so.
  4. Do your end of shift through your software and have a zero-tolerance policy on being over or under. Reconcile banking to your computer software end of shift. One business where this was not done was being skimmed regularly for $200 a day.
  5. Do spot cash balancing. Unexpected checks can uncover surprises. One retailer needing to do a banking during the day uncovered a $350 discrepancy that lead to discovery of systematic theft.
  6. Change your roster. Sometimes people work together to steal. One retailer found a family friend senior and their teenage daughter stealing consistently.
  7. Check your Audit Log. Look at cancelled sales, deleted sales and items deleted from a sale. Leaving a cash drawer open from the previous sale, scanning items, taking the cash and cancelling the sale is the most common process used by employees to accrue cash they then take from you. Good software tracks cancelled sales and what was in them. This can be matched with video footage.
  8. Check Gross Profit by department. If GP is falling outside what you expect, research it further.
  9. Setup a theft policy. Put this on a noticeboard in the back room. Get staff to read it and sign up to it. See the last page of this advice.
  10. Keep the counter clean. An organised counter reduces the opportunity for theft. It makes detection easier.
  11. Have a no employee bags at the counter policy. This makes it harder for them to hide your cash.
  12. Beware employees who carry folded paper or small notepads. These can be used for them to keep track of how much cash is in the register that is theirs – i.e. not rung up in the software.
  13. Beware of calculators with memories at the counter. One retail business employee used the memory function to track how much cash had to be stolen prior to balancing for the day – cash from sales not rung up.
  14. Do not let employees sell to themselves. If they want to purchase something make them purchase it from the other side of the counter.
  15. Be professional in your management of the business. The more professional your approach they less likely your employees will steal as they will see the risk of being caught as high.
  16. Advise all job applicants that you will require their permission for a police check. From the outset this indicates that you take your business seriously. In many situations applicants who have been asked for permission to do a police check advise they have found a job elsewhere.
  17. Do not take cash out for your own use in front of employees. If they see you take cash for a coffee or lunch some will see this as an invitation.

These steps work – based on decades of helping small business retailers to reduce and manage employee theft.

Theft, employee and customer, costs a typical small / independent retail between 3% and 5% of product sales revenue.  Management attention can cut this dramatically.  It does not take much time. No, it is more about having professional processes in place that everyone in the business follows.

Small business retailers love cloud based backup

The Tower Systems cloud backup service for our POS software customers is appreciated by the many using it. This service has plenty of advantages:

  1. It is fast.
  2. The backup is secure.
  3. You have secure onsite storage as well as offsite storage.
  4. Recovery is fast.
  5. It is low cost.
  6. Everything is backed up, you can be specific in selections.
  7. There is niobium’s operational overhead.

How Does Safe Backup Work?
The software performs an incremental backup every fifteen minutes. An incremental backup is a backup of files that have changed or are new since the last backup.

These incremental backups are catalogued on your NAS device. They are then collated to create your full system backup. This process allows access to backups from a particular point of time – even at the file level. Because backups are stored on the NAS device you have immediate access in-store as well as being sent to the Tower Systems Data Storage Centre in the cloud where a secure additional offsite copy of your data is kept.

How Does This Differ From My Daily Backup?
Retailer Backup ONLY backs up your Retailer Data leaving your other business data, accounting data, important documents and emails at risk. Safe Backup backs up your entire main PC, meaning all your business data is safe and secure. A copy of your business backup is also securely sent via the Internet to our secure data storage centre, giving you a safe off-site copy for protection.

Once Safe Backup is implemented you will no longer need to perform your daily backup. You or your staff will no longer need to wait for the daily backup to complete. The saving could be in excess of $150 per month if your backup is taking 15 minutes or more to complete.

Does Tower Have Access To My Data?
No. When you sign up for the service you must set a password which is assigned to your backup. We can only access your backup if you give us your password.

Fast recovery from a Crypto locker attack

One of our clients was locked out of their system last week by a Crypto locker attack. We had them up and running within 24 hours – without them paying anything to the criminals behind the crypto locker attack.

This was achievable solely because used our cloud backup service. The 24 hours included moving them to a secure hosted server for their multi-store system. Had we not done this extra work, we could have had them up and running in a couple of hours.

A Crypto locker attack can devastate any business. Tower Systems is proud to have provided its customers with access to a proven easy and low cost recovery option that minimises business disruption and provides certainty in what is often an uncertain time for small business retailers.

Ready for the Melbourne Cup

There is something very Australian about making plans for POS software help desk support on a public  holiday for a horse race. However, that is what we have done for tomorrow, as we do every year.

We have put in place terrific support coverage for our customers, to provide easy access to support through the day. We let our customers know the arrangements in the weekly emails sent out yesterday.

Helping small business retailers leverage the Facebook opportunity

Helping small business retailers beyond their POS software is a key part of the Tower Systems mission. We share insights, tips and advice with our small business retailer community through our weekly email, knowledge base, one on one advice and more.

This article is part of then Tower Systems difference.

Facebook community growth is as important as shopper traffic growth

Here is one example of advice we have provided our customers on leveraging the facebook opportunity for small business retail.

Growth in the number of likes for your business Facebook page(s) is as important as growth in shopper traffic through your front door.

I see a direct correlation between the two, if you use Facebook well. Of course, if is the important word in that statement.

I have been actively using Facebook for business for many years. It is an excellent platform of reaching new customers and talking with existing customers. It is an important tool in business growth.

HOW DO YOU GET MORE LIKES ON FACEBOOK?

This is simple, provide good content, content that gives people what they come to Facebook for – entertainment, inspiration, a laugh. The more you do this the more your post will be liked and shared. The more likes and shoes the more people you reach.

Growth in likes for your page begins with your content. If your page likes are not growing, look at your content.

While you can ask people to like your Facebook page, resulting likes may not be as valuable as those who like your page of their own accord.

You can also buy likes. That, however, is a waste of money.

HOW DOES A BUSINESS USE FACEBOOK WELL?

Businesses that use Facebook well entertain. This can be by making people laugh, smile, feel emotional or be happy overall. They do it by being human, real and engaged. They do it by not trying to sell. They do it y not being commercial.

Photos are real, not studio shots, showing products in use more so than on the shelves. They show customers, happy customers.

They share something of themselves.

A newsagency uses Facebook well by not writing about products newsagents sell.

HOW DO MORE LIKES OF YOUR BUSINESS TRANSLATE INTO MORE SALES?

Someone engaging with your business Facebook page is similar to someone browsing your shop. Both can lead to sales.

People being on your page and engaging with your page brings them close to you and proximity = sales.

The more people who like your business Facebook page the more people you can pitch and offer to or reach out with an event or product announcement, them more people who will hear what you have to say.

Take Facebook seriously as a key business tool. The benefits are real and valuable.

POS software help for small business retailers on Saturday

Not many POS software companies in Australia offer office based POS software help desk on a Saturday.

Here at Tower Systems, in addition to mobile p0hone based support, we offer office based support Saturdays from 7:30am to 3pm. Yes, we are open right now.

This office based service is loved by small business owners who use Saturday to catch up. We are here for them, delivering another Tower Systems point of difference.

Why small business retailers should not be worried about software bugs

All software has bugs. The challenges are finding them and fixing them.

Any POS software company that says their POS software is bug free is either lying, delusional or not in high demand.

Here at Tower Systems our approach to software bugs is structured and professional.

  1. When a bug its suspected tests are conducted, to prove the bug exists.
  2. Proof of a bug is further tested, to ensure it is repeatable.
  3. Once proven, the bug is logged, given a bug id and sent to the development team for consideration. Only on the provision of s bug id is the bug accepted as existing.
  4. The development team fixes the bug and loads it as part of a softwAre update.
  5. The update is alpha tested in the office.
  6. A successfully alpha tested release of the software is tested in or own shops.
  7. The tested in our own shops software is released to the beta community.
  8. The successfully beta tested software is released to the wider community.
  9. On release to any end-user we provide a complete list of bugs fixed in the update along with details of all other enhancements delivered through the update.

All the way through our structured process our customers are kept in the loop and up to date with our progress on resolving issues for them.

Software bugs are not the problem. How software companies deal with them is. We are confident here at Tower Systems in our processes and in the transparency we provide to our customers.

How retailers can continue to trade if the internet is down

Here is a question we are often asked by retailers:

In a cloud environment what happens when the Internet is unavailable? The offering is for an external cloud provider, can we leverage our own cloud provider? How are hosting charges calculated, i.e. data storage charges?

Here is our answer:

Our POS software system is very configurable.  Users have the ability, if they wish, to run without being hosted.  This solves any Internet stability questions, particularly for rural/regional Australian where this may be an issue.

The other challenge with cloud is the costs. Our experience is some small business owners are not happy with the monthly hosting cost for a cloud service. However, the customer can choose the approach that is best for their specific circumstances.

These are the reasons we have configured our software to suit whatever situation a customer prefers.

Alternatively, if users want, we can host the system in the cloud, 100% in the cloud.  This can be hosted on our secure dedicated infrastructure (additional costs will apply) or on infrastructure of their choosing.  We will provide guidance on the configuration so the ideal environment is created.

If hosted on our infrastructure customers are charged on a per user per month basis.

If the user runs in a hosted environment and the internet drops out the user can switch to a facility we call Outpost Mode.  OUTPOST mode allows for basic trading, scanning sales, until such time as Internet access is restored.

The level of software access in the event of internet access being down, blocked or otherwise hampered does depend on choices made by the customer. Our customers can be secure in the knowledge that we support multiple choices, we make it easy for them transact if that is the core goal of their business.

Can you continue to trade if the internet is down? Yes!

Crucially, we can train our customers on how to be ready for this in advance of any problem occurring. This is important since customers might otherwise scrambling too get up and running in the middle of a problem could be too disruptive for the business,

Planning ahead of any incident or disaster is important in our view.

How Tower Systems manages small business POS software support calls

How we handle a support call from a small business user of o0ur POS software is a differentiator for us and for our customers.

Here is the process, as it unfolds for our customers:

  1. Customer calls, emails, logs request for help through our website or our software.
  2. The call is immediately logged into our CRM system.
  3. The call often handled immediately, with the answer provided.
  4. If appropriate, the client site is accessed, with permission of the client.
  5. Advice is provided or other work done to fix the issue.
  6. A call close email is sent with a summary of the assistance provided, so the client can confirm that this did in fact fix the query.
  7. A second of the call is placed on the client digital file, for future reference.
  8. A random num bee of calls are peer-reviewed to ensure best practice is followed.
  9. A random selection of support alls are followed up for a customer happiness check.

All through the process, no matter how long or how short, our service is personal. Real people. Real names. 100% based in Australia.

Customer service is vital for small business retailers when considering POS software for their businesses. We understand that. We recourse our team to be able to deliver quality customer service as and when customers want it.

We call what we do the Tower AdvantageTM. It is a differentiator for us and we love it. We think our customers do too.

Personal service matters when it comes to small business POS software

Every day in small business retail shops personal service matters. For many local independent retail businesses, personal service is the differentiator, the thing that shoppers remember and brings them back.

No matter how cool products in a shop are, if the service is not personal with a shopper they may not return.

Equally, no matter how mundane or everyday products are in a shop, personal service may show them off in a light that makes the experience so delightful that the shoppers think first and only of the shop when next wanting such products.

Just as personal service matters in retail, it matters with POS software in terms of customer service and it matters with POS software and the personal service facilities in the POS software.

The Tower Systems small business POS software has encoded in to facilities that help a small business retailer show off personal service, to deliver a level of personal service consistently through shopper facing touchpoints that are managed by the software.

These personal service facilities in the software help the retailer to be personal, efficiently.

On our receipts, we can include care instructions for individual products or local advice that relates to the products in a way that only a local retailer can know. These facilities encoded within the software enable local small business retailers to personalise the experience in a structured way. Retailers have 100% control over the serving of this information.

On the customer display we can show products and other information that further enhances the personal service experience.

Retailers using our software can easily remember important dates such as birthdays, anniversaries, required check in dates, servicing dates, vaccine dates and far more. Indeed, there is no limit to the services that can be provided to personalise a shopper experience based on anniversaries and other date-based information through which a retailer can better serve customers.

For many local small retail businesses, personal service is the big differentiator. Here at Tower Systems we are committed to evolving our support for delivering more and better personal service opportunities through our software. How far we go will be a function of suggestions from our customers.

POS software customers love transparency of help desk traffic

We are just back from another trade show and a common question from sales prospects approaching our stand was about customer service. They usually start by asking if our service is human, based in Australia and helpful.

  1. Our help desk service is human.
  2. Our help desk is based in Hawthorn, Victoria.
  3. Our help desk is helpful.

But most important, our help desk service is transparent. Our customers can easily see, for themselves, how many calls are in the queue, how many have been solved so far in the day and how many are currently being worked on.

This data view is real-time, providing our customers with valuable information that helps them make decisions about when to access support.

We provide the data feed through a direct link to our internal CRM system and into the customer area of our website.

This is another service in our POS software business where we go beyond what people often experience form a POS software help desk.

POS software knowledge base updates help small business retailers

Tower Systems announces each week to its customers the enhancements to advice provided on its 24/7 accessible knowledge base.

Every week there are new articles and updated articles, helping our customers to top into advice and resources they need as and when they want.

Here is a list from our last weekly email of new and revised advice accessible online:

  1. Installing Retailer Updates
  2. Editing an Existing Customer Invoice=
  3. Setting Up A Maximum Credit / Account Limit For A Customer
  4. Direct Debiting Customer Payments Using Credit Card Details=
  5. Redeeming A Gift Voucher / Card=
  6. Gift Voucher Management
  7. Zebra GK420 / GX420 Setup For Barcode Manager
  8. Zebra GK420T / GX420T Setup for Label Manager

With many hundreds of articles, all searchable by keywords, our customers have access to peer-reviewed step by step guides into using the software, to help provide better outcomes.

Revising the advice and providing access to this is part of everyday customer service here at Tower Systems.

Our customers suggest new topics we cover and these suggestions result in new or revised advice published on our knowledge base.

We are grateful to our customers for their in-the-field advice on what they would like to know.

Tower Systems meets new Payment Express compliance standards

We have just been advised that our software has passed acceptance testing for the new Payment Express integration for our New Zealand used POS software.

We have had integration with previous versions of this gateway but with their latest changes needed to pass compliance again. That we have done this well ahead of the October cutover in NZ is a testament to our development and testing teams.

This offers peace of mind to our NZ customers.

Telstra outage not stressing the POS software help desk

We received an alert early this morning about a major Telstra network outage and to expect help desk call traffic to spike as a result. Here we are more than half way through the day and we have not received a single call.

We did proactively share with our customers steps to take to ensure they were not affected. That appears to have helped.

Helping small business retailers with POS software queries on a Saturday

It is Saturday morning, a busy days for local retail businesses. Too often while local shops are open, businesses that support local businesses are closed.

Not Tower Systems.

Our POS software help desk is open. On our after hours mobile phone and, importantly, in the office where the full set of help resources are available. This enables us to do more, rather than asking retailers to wait until Monday.

We take Saturday support seriously for our small business retail customers. hence the office based support on days like today.

Customer service matters at Tower Systems.