Cris Wendt, principal strategy consultant at Flexera Software, has performed a true public service and presented a 10-step "out-of-box" experience for those who want to make it easier for customers to adopt software products, software licensing models and technology. Flexera Software is a leading provider of strategic solutions for Application Usage Management.
“Software vendors are often interested in improving software licensing as a way to improve customer satisfaction, yet they don't always know where to start,” Wendt writes. “I suggest that senior executives ‘walk a mile’ in their customer's shoes and engage in a complete commerce life cycle experience.”
Here are Wendt’s 10 steps/questions:
1. Order a product from a price book with the aid of a salesperson or channel partner. You’ll find yourself forced to answer such questions as “Is it obvious what the products do, are they structured in a price book so that they can be easily ordered to deliver?” Wendt thinks you’ll learn that there are often multiple overlapping ways to order a software tool, and “it's not always obvious exactly what to order.”
2. Engage in the installation and software licensing activation process. Was the process simple and were the questions reasonable, or, did the process seem endless? If you didn’t like it, why would your customers?
3. How easy is the software update process? Self-explanatory there; if you’re frustrated with your company by this point, knowing what great, wonderful people you all are, imagine how your customers feel.
4. Is the renewal process easy for customers? Is it obvious what the customer should do to perform the renewal?
5. Do you provide license agreement terms along with a self-serve portal for customers to perform simple administrative tasks such as a "move" or "reactivation" on the same machine without a support call?
6. Does the self-serve portal allow the customer to find information about what their organization has ordered and activated? If not, why not? You really want them calling you to learn this? Your call center people don’t have better things to do? Isn’t this rather the whole point of self-serve portals?
7. If you have an unexpected or short-term need for additional software licenses, are such license terms and pricing available?
8. If you have a demo or time-based copy of software, do you get notification/error messages in the product well in advance of license expiry? Or are you just gazumped one day?
9. Are the processes mentioned above consistent for all the different products your company offers? This is a big one; can your customers count on your brand for a consistent experience?
10. Ask yourself the impact the above experiences had on your overall satisfaction. If you were a customer of your company, would you want to do business with you again? Be honest now.
There you go. Your mile has been walked. Take your customer’s shoes off and give them back now.
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Flexera Software's FlexNet Licensing (composed of FlexNet Publisher and FlexNet Embedded) makes it easy for application producers to monetize, secure, enhance and grow market share through the flexible pricing, packaging, and licensing of applications, intelligent devices or equipment using embedded software. FlexNet Licensing also gives organizations the power to protect IP and rein in unauthorized software use to prevent revenue loss.