POS software blog

About our POS software for local small business retailers

Category: transparency

Here’s what life in stage 4 Covid lockdown has been like for our small business in Victoria

Our head office is located in Hawthorn, Victoria, in suburban Melbourne, which has been in stage 4 lockdown since early August.

The gap between the end of the first Covid lockdown and the start of the tougher stage 4 was barely a month.

Back in March, when the impact of Covid became known, we made some decisions about the operations of our business that have meant the changes to restrictions have not impacted our business. These were changes any business could make. Indeed, with hindsight, they are changes we could have made years ago.

Even though our business is considered essential given the nature of our work and the customers we serve, we decided, back in March, to move to a remote operation for 85% of our work force of more than 50.

This meant bringing forward transition to our new VoIP phone system, expanding our Zoom capacity, expanding our Microsoft Teams capacity, providing team members with tech at home and putting in place financial compensation for folks working from home.

The tech changes were implemented over 2 days. They have served us well.

With plenty of our workforce usually in retail every day, helping our customers, we had to fundamentally change the way we worked. You cannot do online what you’d usually do in a shop installing software or training people. We adjusted and our customers adjusted.

Today, we’re almost 100% online in what we do and in our service delivery. If, however, a customer wants us in-store and it is essential to their business, we can do this, in stage 4 and outside of stage 4, and we have done it.

From a sales and marketing perspective the changes have been significant. We used to do at least 16 trade shows a year. This year we have done 1 and next year we have none planned. Instead, we have found new and, indeed, more useful ways to connect with prospects.

The result has been an increase in sales. This is good news for us, our team members and our customers. We are sincerely grateful.

Over recent weeks, we have brought several more people into the office as we have some team changes and new colleagues to meet.

While Victoria waits to hear when stage 4 will end, here at Tower Systems we see no major changes to how we operate through the remainder of 2020 and into the early months of 2021.

This new way of operating is offering team members more time with family, lower out of pocket costs and opportunities for healthier lifestyle choices.

We have learnt plenty navigating Covid, benefiting our business and all who work here. This is the good news story we’d like to see media outlets cover – what we have learnt and the benefits leveraged as a result. There are plenty of good news stories like ours.

We get that stage 4 restrictions in Victoria have been challenging. They have also provided opportunities.

We are optimistic about 2021 as we have a terrific base from this year on which to build … and for this we are sincerely grateful.

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Software ideas move to development

swideast.jpgMore software ideas (enhancement suggestions) put forward by our retail software user community through the interactive Software Ideas facility at our website have transitioned to development.  That is, they are now real changes being made by our software development team.

Every idea suggested by users is published at Software Ideas along with votes and feedback.  It is essential for this process to be completely user controlled and transparent.  Otherwise it becomes another company mouthpiece and this would not help our users, our software or us.  This is what software companies tend to do – create a one way communication channel which makes it look like they listen to everyone when they do not.

The latest ideas to transition to development have done so because of user support through the voting process.  We are grateful to our users for their interaction.

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Customers vote for software enhancements

vote_now.jpgOur customers are embracing the Software Ideas facility we launched online last month and which has received international kudos.  One item has 59 votes.  Each vote is free market research for us. Our commitment to our customers is to act on their will.  We are also committed to  transparency – this is why we have attached it to our website and given our customers control over what is published.  For this to work to our advantage and the advantage of our customers we have to deliver the maximum amount of freedom possible.  Anything less than this and it would fail.

We already have enhancements ready for delivery which were suggested through Software Ideas.  More will follow soon.

Our approach to engaging with our customers on software enhancement ideas is another way we can be compared to other companies.  We welcome this.  It is one thing to say you welcome suggestions and another to provide a transparent user-driven process.

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Tower Systems users embrace having a say in software development

shareidea.jpgOur Software Ideas initiative – where we give our users more control over the direction of their software – has been widely embraced and discussed since its launch just over a week ago.  Some ideas have already been scheduled for the next software update, genuinely new ideas have been suggested and other ideas have received excellent public support.

The process in completely transparent.  Every idea is published.  Every vote is counted.  All feedback is considered and discussed.  Now, more than ever, Tower Systems software users drive the direction of the software.

I have been asked by another software company about the idea and how we went about implementation.  I was happy to share our experiences and details of the back-end processes. I am hopeful that they, and others, will join this movement of greater transparency of and user engagement in determining the future direction of their software.

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