Sponsored by: Heartland
A growing number of restaurant operators realize the importance of responsive local customer support for their point-of-sale (POS) systems.
In fact, the availability and quality of local technical support are vital criteria for choosing a POS provider. Having a tech expert nearby who is responsive all the time, including nights and weekends, is invaluable. Ideally, the support provider develops an understanding of the customer’s business and offers personalized approaches for solving problems and improving performance.
“If you’re doing business with somebody who is not [locally based], in most if not all cases what they are doing is contracting customer service out to a third party,” says Bob Brockman, founder and owner of POS Specialists, a dealer in Concord, Calif., with long-standing customer relationships in the San Francisco Bay Area. “So you are never going to see that person again.”
The cost of do-it-yourself POS
Good local POS support includes expert installation, training and support for the new system. “With our company, you get a dedicated project manager who has been doing this for many years and who does a deep dive into your restaurant,” says Brockman.
Brockman warns about low-cost POS options with scant support purchased online or from a warehouse club. “You can certainly install it on your own, but how many hours do you want to spend,” says Brockman. “I’ve seen people buy one on eBay and spend the next three months figuring out how it works.”
“Anybody can buy a system online and try to get the menu implemented and hooked up,” says Bryan Coffelt, president of POS Innovation, a dealer in Alliance, Ohio. “But if you pay us a couple extra dollars we’re going to install it right, take you live and hold your hand. And if you need something in the future, we’re just a call away.”
Building the local relationship
Responsive local tech support has capabilities that far exceed out-of-market, third-party support. Look for a POS partner that has boots on the ground in your area, backed up by a 24-hour help desk based in the U.S., not overseas.
“It’s critical to have a relationship with a local representative,” says Tim Cliett, vice president of JCR Systems, a POS dealer in Jacksonville, Fla. “I love having face-to-face interaction with our owners when it’s needed. And they really appreciate that we’ll meet with them to discuss any concerns.”
Support should be available around the clock, especially during peak business times when a restaurant can ill afford a POS outage. “We had a high-volume restaurant call us on Mother's Day because the kitchen printers weren’t working and 400 people would be seated in an hour,” says Coffelt. “Our guy went out and handled it.”
“We want to be the local, hometown POS dealer,” says Coffelt. “Our customers are happy that they can call and we’ll show up with a new POS or printer.”
The cloud is the future — now
Today’s cloud-managed POS systems are more reliable and feature-rich than old legacy POS systems. New features and functions can be added more quickly and economically than it can be done with legacy. And when it comes to service issues, a cloud-managed product like Heartland Restaurant POS, which is based on the reliable, secure and easy to use iOS operating system, is free of the glitches that plague legacy POS systems, now decades past their prime.
“With legacy POS systems, software updates and patches are extremely problematic,” says Cliett. “The systems are so old the best way to describe them is band-aids on top of band-aids.”
There’s “a day and night difference” between the time and effort it takes to implement a cloud POS system versus a legacy POS system, Cliett says. “You download the app, type in some information and 'bam!' — things are working. That’s not the case at all with legacy POS systems.”
Proactive customer support
Thanks to the reliability of cloud POS, customer support is evolving in helpful new ways. “We don’t have as many service calls with cloud POS in the iOS environment as we do with a legacy system,” says Coffelt. “But if the phone is not ringing as much, we still touch base with our customers to stay engaged. So we call and ask how things are running. We offer to turn on their gift card or online ordering. We can be proactive about suggesting ways to improve their business, rather than just being a firefighter.”
For more information about the benefits of a cloud-managed restaurant POS system, visit Heartland Payment Systems www.heartlandpaymentsystems.com.