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.

Saturday support for small business retailers

In addition to our after hours POS software support, for many years we have offered Saturday support.  This is office based support delivered by folks expert in our POS software.

Our service is unique and loved. Most Saturday calls are from users seeking advice on better use of the software – not your traditional Help Desk call.

By providing the office based service, we are able to provide better quality advice and access user systems to more quickly deliver the outcome they seek.

Accessibility is key in any software support situation.  This is another reason we commit considerable resources to our Saturday support service as well as our regular after hours service.

We are grateful to our customers who enable us to offer this service in addition to our after hours service.

Does your POS software have a mandatory weekly, monthly or annual fee?

We are welcoming another customer this week who is switching from another POS company because they were told, when they purchased the system several years ago, that there would never be a mandatory support fee.

Despite the promise, they have been hit with ever an increasing mandatory software support fee. This year, the fee approached $4,000.

The company has never responded to their complaint. It was only through a chance meeting with another business owner that they released they could switch software companies and not have a mandatory software support fee.

Tower Systems does not have a mandatory software support fee. Customers can continue to run the software if they are not covered by support. This has always been the case with us.

Any time a POS software sales rep makes a claim on which you rely, get it in writing on their letterhead with a person in authority signing. It is the only way.

While we are thrilled to welcome another customer, it is disappointing for them they have had such a bad experience.

Customers love the transparency of POS software help desk call traffic

Our customers are telling u they love that they can see our POS software help desk call traffic data live at our web site.

We show the current active call number along with the number of calls closed in the data.  The data is updated every fifteen minutes.

Transparency equals a clear commitment to customer service. That is why we have made the necessary changes to our internal call tracking system to provide easy access to current data.

A common complaint we hear about POS software companies is poor customer service. Good service starts with showing our busy thou are. This can fluctuate through the day – the live shows this and can therefore help customers to consider alternative sources of answers.

We are grateful to our customers for the feedback they have provided on this initiative.

Free POS software ecommerce workshop for small business retailers in Sydney

We are bringing our free workshop: Connecting online and in-store, how to make ecommerce work for your small business to Sydney next month. Click the links below to book. each session will run for 2 hours. Refreshments provided:

  • August 10, 8am. Figtree Conference Centre: Mission Room, 5 Figtree Drive, Sydney Olympic Park NSW.
  • August 10, 11am. Figtree Conference Centre: Mission Room, 5 Figtree Drive, Sydney Olympic Park NSW.

We will demonstrate live websites that are connected to our Retailer software in local businesses. we will also show how to transfer stock to a website and how to manage images. We will answer all your website related questions. Bookings are essential.

Tower Systems small business POS software frequently asked questions

Where are you based?
Our head office in in hawthorn, Victoria – 3A Lynch Street. We’d love you to visit! We also have offices interstate.

Who owns Tower Systems?
Mark Fetcher. Ph: 0418 321 338 or email: mark@towersystems.com.au.

How many customers do you have?
More than 3,500.

Do you sell to big business?
No.

Why do you only sell to small business retailers?
There is a difference between the needs of small business owners and big business owners. We prefer to have manny customers than a few big customers. We understand small business retail and we love helping small retail businesses flourish.

How can I find out more about your software?
Contact one of our sales people and they will show you our software for your type of business. This demonstration can be online or in your business.

How often is your software updated?
Constantly. We usually release three major updates a year.

What is in the updates?
The majority of enhancements are determined by our customers through a transparent suggestion and voting process.

Do I have to pay for software updates?
Updates are included in our software support package.

How can I get support for the software?
You can call or email our help desk. Plus, our comprehensive knowledge base is available online 24/7.  Plus we have a user Facebook group.

Do I have to buy hardware from you?
No. We have a hardware spec sheet that is freely available from our website.

Do I have to keep paying to access your software once I purchase it?
No.

Is software support coverage mandatory?
No.

How can I tell how busy the help desk is?
If you log into our website, the first screen you see shows the current call queue as well as how many calls we have handled so far today.

Can I rent your software?
Yes, for as long or as short as you want.

Can I lease the software?
Yes.

Your software is more expensive than other software I am looking at – why?
It could be that the other software you are looking at is not as comprehensive as ours. It could also be you have not been informed of the total cost of ownership of the other software. We think our pricing is fair based on what we have invested in our software and the comprehensive services with which we back our software. We believe in the maxim – you get what you pay for.

How can I learn more about your software once I have it installed?
We run weekly online live training workshops. They are free. Supported customers can have as many telephone based one on one training sessions as they want. 24/7 you can access our knowledge base that includes training videos.

What does “off the shelf software” mean?
It means the software3 offered for purchase is sold as is at that point in time. Unless your contract states otherwise, no customisation is offered.

What if I want a facility that is not in your software?
If you already use our software, suggest it via our transparent Software Ideas facility. If you do not currently use our software, please outline your requirements to your sales person, preferably in writing.

Can I backup to the cloud?
Yes. We offer a safe and secure service for this.

Can I use the software for a pop-up shop or outpost?
Yes.

Can you covert data from other software?
Usually we can. Let us see your data first before you provide a certain answer for you.

Do you sell through agents?
No.

Saturday support helps small business retailers

For years our POS software company serving small business retailers has offered office based support on Saturdays, 7:30am to 3pm.

This is a service in addition to our mobile after hours support.

Customers love the service as it can provide a more detailed level of service than a mobile service. We know they love it because they use it, often to ask about things they did not have time to get to through the week.

Office based Saturday support that is based in Australia by people who know our software well is a differentiator for Tower Systems.

Awesome free POS software training for small business retailers

Here at Tower Systems we are grateful to the small business retailers and those who work in small business retail who support and engage with the weekly free live online training workshops we run.

Thank you!

We love sharing insights. Better still, we love your questions and feedback as they provide fertile ground for enhancements to our POS software and to the services we provide.

Here are free POS software training opportunities for the rest of this month:

Tower Systems regional meetings a hit with small business retailers

Too often POS software companies hide from customers, offering little in the way of face to face engagement.

Tower Systems is different. We actively participate in trade shows, group conferences and more. Plus we host our own sessions around the country – l capital city and regional centre face to face sessions were our POS software customers can meet with us, learn more about our software and provide feedback.

Over the last two weeks we have run sessions in Tamworth, Coffs Harbour, Newcastle, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns.

Its was terrific to see so many customers as well as many prospective customers there. We had a terrific time exploring the new software, the new web strategies and plenty more in the open forums and discussions that followed.

We are an engaged POS software company. We believe in the value of personal contact supporting personal service.

Security warning for small business retailers

2017 has seen an extraordinary spike in attacks on computers and on websites. Our ability to help will depend on the care you have taken. Our advice is that you use a cloud backup service, like the Tower Backup service we offer. It works in the background, backing up without you having to do a backup. If your business is attacked, getting back to a clean and safe place is easy. Any reputable backup service should be able to offer similar to you.

Please do not put this off. Get protection for your business and your business data. You don’t want to be the person who does this after you have been attacked.

At the very least, backup every day, onto a USB stick for that day. While this is an old-school approach, it is better than nothing at all.

But let’s be clear, cloud backup is our recommendation. Our service provides you with a local backup and an offsite backup, in the cloud. This gives you two backups, excellent protection. We monitor the backups to ensure they are working. If we find an issue, we proactively call you. This is rare from a cloud backup service provider.

Here at Tower Systems we take data security seriously. We provide best-pracie advice. Our customers are welcome to use our service or another, our recommendation, however, is that they do something – to be protected.

Too often small business retailers think about data security after they have been affected. Hence this advice here and in our weekly emails and elsewhere in our touch points with customers.