Is your gallery looking to upgrade your database / management system? You're probably already thinking about the features and functionality you need, but the type of customer support provided should also play a big role in your decision making process.
Great customer support coupled with powerful, easy-to-use software makes for a fantastic experience, and many galleries are prioritizing it more and more. On the other hand, poor or limited support can make you and your staff miserable, even if you've got all the features you need.
Onboarding: Getting started with a new system
Whether you've used a gallery management system in the past or not, learning new software always takes some time, regardless of how comfortable you are with technology.
One question you should be asking is what kind of training will be provided for your gallery staff? Look for personalized, flexible training options rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
At ArtCloud, we've found that new gallery partners benefit the most from personalized training sessions for their staff. These sessions are done via video call, which allows for screen-sharing. Our onboarding process always starts with a full-team kick-off call, followed by follow up calls with various team members to go in-depth on certain topics, like setting up an integrated website or running reports.
These personalized calls take more time for the ArtCloud team, but we've found they're the most efficient way for gallery staff to get up and running with the least amount of disturbance to business operations.
Action Item: As you explore your options, ask about the onboarding process, what training is available and what the associated costs are.
Once your gallery staff is up and running, you'll most likely need ongoing support — an opportunity to ask questions and get assistance as you need it.
Another question to ask is what kind of channels are provided for you to reach the company's support team.
Again, you'll want to look for a variety of support channels, including self-serve options like a knowledge base, as well as a quick and easy way to reach the support team. At ArtCloud, the quickest and easiest way to reach our support team is through our live chat, which is accessible any time you're logged into the system, or by emailing our support team. During regular business hours, gallery staff can expect a reply within an hour.
Some people prefer phone calls, but we've found that it is typically very challenging to discuss software over the phone! Instead, you'll want the option for virtual meetings, which are hosted on platforms like Zoom or UberConference.
These platforms allow for screen sharing, so that both the gallery and the support team can look at your screen at the same time. This reduces the confusion and miscommunication that is likely to happen over the phone. At ArtCloud, our gallery partners can book a time to speak with our support team through our website, where they choose an appointment slot for ArtCloud Office Hours.
Action Item: Be sure your next management system has different kinds of support channels available for your staff to use on an ongoing basis.
Feedback and suggestions
The best software companies take customer feedback very seriously. While it's not possible to implement each and every feature request or idea, your gallery management company should be logging that information and taking it seriously.
At ArtCloud, we make a note of every idea, suggestion and piece of feedback we receive; that data is then analyzed and used by our team to help determine and prioritize new functionality. We also share our upcoming product development plans with our customers through our publicly available roadmap.
Action Item: As you're considering various management systems, get a sense for how the company makes decisions about what new features and functionality to build, and what role customers play in that process.