Guest Blogger: “Can a software company have integrity?”

Karen Kronauge, is a Director of Technology Projects with Equinox Funds, a policyIQ client since 2010. Ms. Kronauge offered to share her thoughts regarding recent software support experiences. (In the interest of full disclosure, Ms. Kronauge was a member of the policyIQ team until 2008, when she left RGP.)  Thank you, Karen! If you are interested in being a policyIQ “Guest Blogger”, please contact us!

Can a software company have integrity?  I suppose that’s maybe a strange question, like asking if a company can have a “soul”, I suppose.  Our team recently had a software experience that sure made us contemplate this question.

Our team recently fired a software vendor.  I’ll just call this company “Big Name Software”, in an attempt to not get myself in trouble by naming names.  We used this Big Name Software for expense reporting: to enter expense reports, reconcile back to our corporate Amex, and then pay employees.  Now, this software vendor was not a little “mom and pop” type of operation.  In fact, it was the largest online expense management software in North America.  You might be thinking that maybe we fired Big Name Software due to cost, or maybe we just didn’t need all of the features that they offer.  But that wasn’t the reason for the change:  the real reason boiled down to a lack of integrity.

We experienced some problems with Big Name Expense Reporting Software, but our list was actually pretty short: #1) there were bugs in Big Name’s Expense reporting software, however, #2) their software support team was unable (or incapable) of identifying the cause of the problem.

Now, “Bugs Happen”, as they say, and it might even make for a good bumper sticker!  As sure as the sun rises in the East, anytime you have software, you’ll get an occasional bug.  Our real problem with Big Name was really with reason #2.  Every time we would reach out to Big Name’s support team, we’d have to re-explain the problem, and essentially re-prove to someone new that what we were experiencing was an actual bug (and that we weren’t crazy or stupid).  Oh, and I guess that brings me to our problem #3 with Big Name Software: Big Name’s customer support team had no resolution and no workaround for us — ever.  As you might imagine, this resulted in our frustration, occasional yelling, and (embarrassingly enough) sometimes throwing items at walls in sheer anger.

Our team realized, at long last, that we would need to find another expense reporting software to replace Big Name.  We were not eager to make this decision, as the setup is painstaking and time consuming, not to mention expensive.  In calling other major expense reporting players in the marketplace, I mentioned the reason why we were shopping for software: that we were looking to leave one of their competitors as soon as possible.  I thought that this point alone would have resulted in all of these salespeople literally jumping at the chance to call me back immediately and get in on this excellent opportunity.  We were essentially telling vendors that we were a shoo-in for purchasing software THIS WEEK!  “Please, just let us make our check out to you, New Expense Reporting Software Company!”  But alas, there were three (THREE!) companies that took well over 48 hours to call us back to even discuss scheduling a demonstration.  I felt like this was an indicator of how their service might be: if they weren’t eager to show us a demonstration when they don’t yet have our money, then they probably wouldn’t be too eager to call me back when I have a software support question or problem.  Since the last thing we wanted to do was jump out of the frying pan and into the fire, we immediately crossed these software vendors off of our potential purchase short list.

Why am I telling you this story?  Because we also happen to be a policyIQ customer as well.  We discovered a bug in one of our policyIQ Public Forms last week.  I called policyIQ’s support team to let them know about it.  Greg, a policyIQ Support team member, asked me some very specific questions, clearly trying to understand the full picture of the problem.  I could tell that he was also making notes about this issue as we went.  That was important to me – and it struck me as being very different from my “bad” experiences with the expense report software company.  At the end of the call, Greg told me that he’d log and share this problem with the rest of the team, and that they’d get back with me in the next day or so with their findings.  Sure enough, I heard back from Greg a day later, and he informed me that they had identified the problem in the software, and that they were working on the resolution.  Jump to a few days after that and a “patch” had been installed.  Whew!  That was sure easier than my last experience with the expense reporting software company!  It’s so refreshing to deal with a company that can actually help us when we call their support line.

We’ve successfully transitioned to a new expense accounting software now, at long last.  This New Expense Reporting Software company has been much better to work with.  After reflecting on our journey, I’ve realized this: the absence of integrity sure does make a user long for it.  It’s important to be heard.  It’s even more important to be heard when something is broken and you’re asking for help.  So, back to my original thought: can a software company have integrity?  I say YES!  They can.  And we’ve experienced it first-hand with the policyIQ support team recently.  Our team would like to express our THANKS to everyone at policyIQ who helped to quickly resolve our issue!

This entry was posted in Customer Relations and tagged , , , by Stephenie Buehrle. Bookmark the permalink.

About Stephenie Buehrle

Stephenie is the “solutions” expert on the policyIQ team. With RGP since 2004, she designs and develops solutions that capitalize on the best practices of the hundreds of companies that she has touched, while tailoring each configuration to meet the unique needs of each client. Before joining RGP and the policyIQ team, Stephenie enjoyed working as an independent consultant in the non-profit sector. Stephenie also previously performed analyst services for a major brewer ranging from roles in biological and chemical services to analytical roles in business process improvement and innovation. Stephenie quips that she still doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up, but hopes to spend her days helping others (companies, individuals, and communities) to realize their full potential.

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