eProcurement & Procure-to-Pay Resources

The Importance of Customer Support (Part Two)

Published March 17, 2021 at 9:00 AM

We recently took the time to meet with Kashif Choudhary, Director of Client Success at BuyerQuest, about the trends and challenges of customer support. Kashif shared his experience drawn from years in the software technology industry.  We continued our conversation, discussing BuyerQuest’s unique approach and philosophy towards customer support.

BuyerQuest has a different philosophy regarding support?

KC:  Yes, just like BuyerQuest’s product philosophy of making buying simple, our approach to Support is to make the experience as simple as possible by not wasting our customer’s time with unnecessary research or cumbersome processes to get to a person on the phone.  

BuyerQuest, like most software companies, invests heavily in the sales process, but we understand that our customer relationship is a long-term partnership and we devote time and energy to creating a seamless customer experience from sale to implementation to go live and beyond. Internally, we follow a well-designed, thoughtful process that ensures detailed customer knowledge is transferred from Implementation to Support to Customer Engagement.

Our customers get the same top-tier experience with Support as they experience with Implementation. 

It’s one of the things that, I think, helps BuyerQuest stand out from other procurement software providers, and one of the reasons I enjoy being part of the Support team.

BuyerQuest has set up a unique Support structure, can you discuss it?

KC:  Sure, our goal is to have a structure that simplifies and streamlines the customer’s experience when interacting with BuyerQuest.  We’ve seen the value of having a close relationship between Implementation, Support and Account Management. This reduces the amount of time customers need to spend “educating” and puts the focus on problem resolution.  

We’ve made the decision that our Account Management team and Support team fall under the same reporting structure and interact regularly.  This has delivered significant benefits to our customers.

Having Account Management and Support under the same structure ensures regular exchanges of information and knowledge.  The client knows that both the Account Manager and Support are working together to resolve any issues if they arise.

What are some Benefits of BuyerQuest’s approach to Support?

KC:  We know that the faster we can resolve the customer’s issue, the faster they can get back to getting value from their BuyerQuest installation.  We also realize that our customers are new to our technology, so we work closely with them to help them get the most from their installation.

For example, our Account Management will perform a “health check”, to see what capabilities are being used, how the users are interacting with the system, etc. The output is a detailed writeup to the customer of their usage and where opportunities to get more value from BuyerQuest may lie. 

When a customer initially interacts with Support, every request gets a response from a person, not just an auto-reply email.  We may respond that we are looking into it, but we will not send a generic response with a ticket number.  At regular intervals, we provide updates with some value as we work to a resolution.  

Our organization is built to allow issues to flow quickly across multiple teams so that it reaches the right group to offer a solution in the shortest time possible, eg.  from Support to the Development team, etc.

How can a customer be sure that the BuyerQuest support person knows his/her business?

KC:   We have a strict documentation process.   Every aspect and detail of each specific customer process is documented.  This effort benefits our Implementation team, Support teams, and ultimately our customer.  The result is a customer-specific user manual detailing everything from how things are labeled, how the backend is used, etc.  With this detailed document in hand, a customer on the phone with Support will feel like they are talking to someone who was part of the implementation. 

The feedback from customers has been extremely positive. We’ve heard comments from a customer that they were initially worried about the transition to Support. They had concerns that once they switched over they were going to have to deal with someone that didn’t understand their business, requiring a ramp-up period.  They were excited to see that with BuyerQuest that that ramp-up essentially vanished.

In an era where companies are doing everything to move away from personalized customer support, how are you able to keep such a robust, high-touch support organization going?

KC:  Much of our success in Support is a result of the hard work of our QA and Development teams.  Having a small number of product issues with releases makes support a much easier process. 

At BuyerQuest, products are thoughtfully developed by the R&D team, diligently reviewed by our Q&A and carefully implemented at the customer with comprehensive documentation.  This total company effort helps to simplify the support experience for our customers.   

We rarely run into scenarios that plague so many software providers such as:

  • During the software implementation needed features were misconfigured, broken, accidentally turned off, etc. 
  • As a result of the most recent upgrade, a critical customer feature stopped working or starting giving incorrect results. 

We have an almost obsessive level of company-wide dedication to testing and documentation. Everything is tested, including one-off client-specific features.  Our detailed documentation ensures that our customers have a clear understanding of how certain features may impact them.

What are some things you think BuyerQuest has gotten right in the structure of Support that other companies may have either overlooked or not valued enough?

KC:   The model and structure are what sets us apart.  No matter what channel you use to engage BuyerQuest, ticket entry, email, or phone call, you’ll be connected with someone who understands your environment. 

Once you’ve reached out, you get to see someone face-to-face to help you address your issues.  We are very high-touch with our clients.  We don’t direct people to open “page 34”. 

We live in a time where people expect immediate fulfillment. We can’t be a company that says, “We know the answer, but we’re going to direct you to the manual” versus just answering the question.  It frustrates customers.  Our clients need our understanding and empathy.  They have executives pushing them to make the most of the investment, and if there are hurdles, we must be there to quickly help them overcome them.  That’s something where I think BuyerQuest stands out from the competition. 

Learn more about BuyerQuest Support by visiting BuyerQuest Community.

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