Here at Safefood 360º we love technology, and we love great design. So it’s no wonder that if you look at our software you’ll find lots of clever design choices throughout the application. But great design alone is not enough of a compelling offering for food companies. There is a key ingredient in the whole SaaS (Software as a Service) concept that makes cloud technology appealing in the first place, and that ingredient is the service. Without good service in the software industry, even the best design will be useless. We’ve identified at least three areas of service that are crucial to building the experience of our users and that contribute to the success of our customer relationships.
Service #1: Continuous updates and improvement
When we talk about service you normally think about customer service or consultants. However, in the SaaS offering there is a more basic element of service that we need to recognise and that is the continuous improvement and maintenance of the software.
Food safety regulations and industry best practices are evolving all the time. However when we go out and meet food businesses we find out that the systems being used today are often a decade old or even from the previous century! This is because software companies in the past did not understand the benefits of agile development and continuous improvement.
Agile development allows us to take huge leaps over a period of time because we are rolling out lots of small improvements on a constant basis. This way the software you’re using keeps on evolving alongside industry requirements and never becomes outdated. It’s just now that with the development of cloud technology we finally have software designs that are so flexible that we can roll out updates every week and make this continuous improvement a reality!
When you invest in a SaaS offering you know that your food safety management system is always going to be the latest version available based on the latest best practices in software design. The situation where your quality management system has not been updated in the last 10 years is a thing of the past. When a software provider takes the responsibility of maintaining, updating, backing up and securing your software it’s a valuable service that eliminates the pressures from maintaining your system and staying up-to-date.
Service #2: Efficient daily support
No matter how intuitive software is, situations will arise when you need to ask advice from customer support or contact them for feedback. And when you do need support there’s nothing more frustrating than biting your finger nails while waiting for an answer from the customer support – so every minute counts. We know this. We use over 50 software services on a daily basis ourselves and the best software providers in our mind are also the ones with the best support. So we don’t settle on anything but the best possible level of daily support for our own users as well.
Service #3: Professional services
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And that first impressions are the most important for the future of any relationship. We have this huge focus on getting a good start on things because unlike in some other areas of life where you can fix things afterwards, the start often defines the broad direction things will develop.
When you take something as extensive and essential as the food safety management system of a company, it’s not like you would simply snap your fingers and have it converted to a software platform from a paper based system that has taken years to develop. Implementation projects take planning, experience and above all they take time. We know the average quality manager or food safety officer is already doing the jobs of 2½ people so to add on top of those daily duties a software implementation project, it’s not really feasible unless the quality manager is really committed to reserving the necessary time for the project.
We’ve identified this need as a crucial element of a successful SaaS offering. You can’t just have the best software with the best daily support, but you also need to provide the best professional services, because without successful implementations there are no successful customer stories either.
I hope I have convinced you to consider the role of service as a key ingredient to food safety management software and please let us know in the comments your thoughts about what makes good service in your mind!