Pricing Flexibility, Excellent Presales Support
Another important criterion for Oliva has to do with pricing structures. Most help desk systems charge for each user who accesses a tracking portal, but Alloy provided a corporate pricing plan. For Oliva, it was important that the help desk support regional offices that are scattered throughout the country without charging each office for access to the help desk system. “Alloy is priced for customers like me who have more people outside the building than inside,” he says.
Oliva explains more about how the presales process helped him make the decision to choose Alloy: The agent he spoke to was knowledgeable and friendly. Oliva asked questions about whether the help desk could tie into an existing Access database, and the agent knew the answer. For other support issues, the agent operated a demo remotely, set up a Webinar to show how the software worked, and generally showed good customer service, an example that Oliva wanted to follow.
I just can’t give it enough praise. Customer service is an art form of sorts, and Alloy knows the meaning of that.
In terms of the actual installation, Oliva says he had no problems. There was a minor glitch involving a database that was not compatible, but he says it was an internal issue. Even then, he says Alloy was able to work with him on the phone to troubleshoot the problem and find a solution. One important point Oliva makes has to do with the customer service: He was never put on hold for long periods, and the agent did not have to call back repeatedly with suggestions. Oliva and the agent troubleshot over the phone, which revealed to Oliva that Alloy Software knows customer service and troubleshooting.
After the initial installation, Oliva wanted to make sure there was a single sign-on for regional offices. He was able to configure the software to work with Active Directory. In fact, once a user is authenticated in Windows, he says, there is no need to log in to the help desk tracking software because of the link between the two authentications. “Our users didn’t have to remember a different username and password for the new help desk system, which just made the process easier,” he notes.
The installation and training time took about two weeks, says Oliva. There were no major issues with integration into existing systems in the data center, end-user support with the Web portal, or any issues with training support personnel on how to use it. “They [Makita’s users] took to it like fish to water,” he says. “The Web portal is so simple. Our users understood how it worked right away. I don’t recall getting any calls from users learning the portal.”