Buying enterprise software can be difficult. You are at a disadvantage because the software vendor knows a lot more about the product you are considering than you do. You spend months trying to eliminate as much of that knowledge gap as you can, doing due diligence, talking to reference customers, sitting through scripted demos.
But you know a lot of what will determine your success or failure with this new solution is hidden from you. And you may not be certain that the software vendor has your best interest at heart.
One reason it is such an honor to hold a leadership role with IFS is that I know IFS does have our customer’s interest at heart. We hope that shows as we enter into a sales engagement with you. We hope IFS customers, who you talk to during your evaluation process, let you know that we do what we say we are going to do and that we are transparent about what our software will do for them.
We take long term customer relationships seriously, which is why it is so gratifying to receive the Best in Biz International award for Most Customer Friendly Company of the Year for 2019. This award is designed to recognize companies with the highest customer satisfaction and support success rates.
NUMBERS BEHIND THE NUMBERS
Our customer satisfaction levels, depending on what number we look at, are in the 90thpercentile. Our ratings on Gartner Peer Insights are significantly higher than our competitors. But these are not the customer satisfaction numbers that matter most to us. We are more impressed with the numbers behind those numbers…
The 40 percent decrease in excess inventory reported by Cleaver-Brooks. The doubling of throughput with a smaller headcount reported by Boyd’s Coffee. The 30 percent reduction in order lead time we helped Heaven Hill achieve. National Energy Equipment was able to reduce inventory variances from 20 percent to a fraction of 1 percent. Or how Gosiger generated an additional $2.6 million in revenue thanks to our work together.
These and many, many others tell a story of a software vendor deeply committed to the success of each customer.
We won’t take credit for the success our customers achieve. We provide the tools and our services team or one of our partners gives them a hand up. They are the ones though who must have the vision and the desire to make beneficial things happen for their organizations.
Too often though, a software vendor will have an agenda that conflicts with the customer’s interest. They may oversell their software’s capability. They may obscure project risk or cost. Vendors take advantage of that imbalance of information, hiding important elements of what life will be like after that contract is signed. That signature and the revenue that comes with it are their only concern.
LIFE AFTER GO-LIVE IS WHAT MATTERS
IFS is a growing company, and revenue is important for us, too. But we take a longer-term view of the relationship than our competitors. The way we structure our sales engagements means our people are incented not just to get that initial contract, but to grow the relationship over a period of years. We help IFS customers achieve business value, which deepens their trust in our products and our company and then they can expand our software footprint by addressing additional business challenges.
In committed relationships between people, the marriage matters more than the wedding. The relationships a software vendor has with a customer can last just as long, so at IFS is focused on the decades that follow the sale.