Technology is supposed to simplify life, but no solution is perfect. When you need help, what’s the secret to finding great software support?

Software manufacturers are a full-service machine, for sure. Staffed with think tanks to study how we work and come up with new ideas, developers to make these ideas come to life, million-dollar marketing campaigns to find creative ways to increase awareness, business development teams and distributors to uncover new channels and drive sales, and – finally – the priceless support departments that answer the call (or click) when users inevitably need help.

These manufacturers provide an undeniable service with their customer support arm, and from trainers who may have helped design the product from early stages, so why do so many users look for options for support resources?

When you need software support, what makes you look for help from a resource other than the manufacturer?

  • Do you think the vendor will be too expensive?
  • Do your support needs fall outside of the standard operating hours for the vendor?
  • Are you looking for a local support vendor?
  • Do you prefer a support system that isn’t limited to support?

How Much Does It Cost?

The general consensus is original equipment manufacturer (OEM) support is too expensive and that “after-market” options are more cost-effective. Where does this reputation come from?

Partly from the truth.

The OEM support industry is riddled with the image of being the most expensive options. Software manufacturers, auto dealerships, and pharmaceutical companies are just a few examples of sectors that bear the burden of this reputation. In reality, it’s not always the case – in fact, all three industries face stiff competition from after-market suppliers that force competitive pricing in shared markets. So long as there are third-party vendors who are able to buy at wholesale rates and enjoy a bulk discount, there will be “bargains” to be had.

Cost is a problematic way to compare software support options since needs vary from one end of the spectrum to the other. Emergency support that becomes prioritized over other lower-ranked support requests will cost a higher premium to grant immediate attention.

Hours And Location

If a support provider can’t meet your needs when you need help, it’s not a good match, plain and simple. Nobody wants to wait for help.

You may need a local support provider, or at least someone in the same time zone as you, preventing issues from happening during “off hours” for the support provider, and making sure help is always available when you need it. The longer you have to wait for help when faced with the need, the wait feels like an eternity, and the cost can add up quick.

Calling for help and reaching a call center around the globe may not be a problem for countless users, but sometimes it’s nice to reach someone in your backyard. If that local provider doesn’t provide 24/7 support, users have two options: downtime until the next business day, or find another provider that can help right then.

Thinking Outside The Box

No matter how you look at it, the best software support doesn’t always come from the software manufacturer. It’s more important to find the best fit for your support needs, and sometimes that comes from the company down the street rather than the global dot-com.

The toll-free number for support with the interactive voice response menu options will eventually get you to the right person that can help with your situation – and that’s it. If you have other questions or need help making your software work with other devices, connect with cloud-based storage, or anything outside the realm of the software for which you’re calling for help, it may require subsequent calls.

Who has time for that?

Managed IT services providers (MSPs) are alternatives to software manufacturers in that MSPs provide software support. For businesses in Washington, D.C., why sit on hold with a call center in India when you have great options right on the East Coast? Get the benefit of the support you need, the added value of help options right in your backyard, often with 24/7 assistance.

What keeps you up at night? Not the need to wait for help!

Finding an MSP that fits your needs should still involve a conversation. While software manufacturers often provide out-of-the-box pricing for non-customized solutions, MSPs face a slightly trickier situation, since needs vary. Rarely do one-size-fits-all pricing packages really apply to all customers, and you don’t want to pay for more than you need.

A quick visit to a handful of websites can be misleading. MSPs don’t rely on valuable website real estate to list every product for which they offer support for one simple reason: they can’t. Websites would be endless – and leave little for the provider to personalize! Productivity apps from Microsoft like Word and Excel are a workplace staple, but need-specific critical path software like Prophix or Airtable are less commonly used, though this doesn’t necessarily translate into less commonly supported.

So, when you look for a software support resource, what makes users look for options?

The Simple Solution

The answer is, all of the above. There’s no singular reason software users find alternative support solutions, but the most significant factor in the decision-making process is the level of personalized service the user feels they’re getting – and are willing to pay for it. Professionals place a premium on service and see value in true solutions. Combining your needs with a trained resource that can help with anything from emergency response to long-term strategic consulting is where your “sweet spot” is.

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