So you’ve decided on a software you want to purchase. It checks off your boxes for features and functionality, and you’ve defined that it will benefit your end clients and make life easier for your employees.
Before you invest, here are some recommendations of things to investigate to make sure you are getting what you pay for.
1. What type of training is provided
In many cases, software is only as good as how well it can be adopted. So before committing to a partnership with a software-as-a-service company, ask them about the type of training they provide. Are there manuals? Videos? Live training systems? A dedicated account rep who will be on hand/responsive when your team has questions? Ask for a breakdown of what to expect once the software has been deployed to your team. An experienced team will be able to speak to challenges they’ve seen with other companies like yours and how they helped to overcome them.
2. Ask detailed questions about the rollout
Further to providing basic training, does the company offer any other assistance with the roll out? Do they offer any materials or strategies to help with adoption for end users and specific ways to measure the success of that adoption?
3. What is their system for reporting bugs, and how long does it take to resolve issues?
Ask them what system they use for customers to report product bugs (ex: Zendesk, Intercom). What is the process for reporting bugs and what kind of turnaround time can you expect on your tickets.
4. How often do product updates happen, and how are customers notified
Any software company truly focused on providing the best user experience is going to be constantly iterating. So what does that mean for your team and how you use the software? Ask for a ballpark figure on how often product updates happen. Also, once the updates have occurred, how are these product updates communicated to customers, and is training provided if necessary.
5. Do they engage in user testing? If so, ask if you can be part of a session
User testing is a crucial part of the above-mentioned product iteration process. If a company is dedicated to the end user, they will have a UX/UI team constantly working on how to optimize the product for them. Ask if the company engages in user testing sessions, and ask to be part of one if possible. This will give you insight into how they work to improve their product, as well as let you experience the product from a different perspective than is typically provided during a traditional product demo. User testing sessions are specifically designed to point out areas of improvement or usability issues in the product. And while issues will arise with any product, it’s helpful if you can glean some insight into how a company responds to them.
6. Look for a strong product roadmap
First off, make sure to clarify what features and functionality that you’ve been shown or discussed are live and functional, vs which ones are part of a living product roadmap. If a company has a close relationship with their clients and are really invested in making the product work for them, those relationships will result in a list of requested features that are folded into a product roadmap. If the company offers it, ask for a public version of the product roadmap to see what is coming down the pipe.