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Customer tracking software

Discussion in 'Security Alarms' started by Peter, Dec 21, 2003.

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  1. Peter

    Peter Guest

    Hi,

    I am a part time system administrator for a Security/File alarm dealer. The
    company currently uses QuickBooks for accounting/invoicing/payroll/etc.,
    however they do not have a customer database that keeps track of what's
    installed at a customer's site and the service call history for that
    customer. Currently everything is kept in folders which means that there
    are filing cabinets all over the office to keep the folders in order. There
    are many problems with this situation, including "losing" files for
    hours/days because the file is on someone's desk when it should be in the
    cabinet, not having immediate, easy access to what's installed at the
    customer's site when they call in reporting a problem, etc.

    There's got to be a software solution to help this problem. The paper
    master file can never go away (at least right now), but if all this
    information was stored online somehow it would seem that the efficiencies
    gained would greatly offset the cost to purchase/maintain a customer
    database.

    I am looking for some recommendations on software that other security/alarm
    dealers use to keep track of their customers. Positive and negative
    feedback about specific software would be great. What software is out
    there?

    Ideal functions it should perform/data it should store:
    1. Customer demographic information
    2. Track what's installed at a customer site
    3. Service call history (reported problem, work performed, technicians who
    worked on service call, new parts/devices installed)
    4. Inventory control
    5. Job scheduling/dispatch functions
    6. Track how long each employee spent at the job
    7. Reporting
    8. Client/Server based with simultaneous users (7+)

    It would be nice to have:
    1. Integration with QuickBooks (switching accounting software is not an
    option, even if accounting software came with the package it would not be
    used).
    2. Ability to download customer job info to a PDA device so service
    technicians don't have to take the master file with them.

    Thanks in advance.

    -Peter
     
  2. Aegis

    Aegis Guest

    Mastermind
     
  3. You would probally want to have a programmer to make some Custom software
    for you. to the best of my knowings there is nothing out there like that.
    The price might cost you a couple of grand but look on the bright side you
    could market the application to other alarm companies after it is made.
     
  4. Marc

    Marc Guest

    url?

     
  5. Reg Siemens

    Reg Siemens Guest

    My company bought this software at Version 4.0 and it was riddled with bugs
    and didn't do what it was advertised to do. After a few months of working
    through very unsatisfactory customer support (days of unreturned phone
    calls, deadlines for patch releases that came and went numerous times), we
    gave up and attempted to return the software. Despite weeks of dialogue,
    they refused. They acknowledged the bugs and components that didn't work,
    but wouldn't stand behind their product and guarantee customer satisfaction
    nor allow the return or even resale of the software. We haven't used the
    software since and consider this experience a very expensive lesson. When
    we were in the midst of this frustration and were getting nowhere with
    Z-Micro, I asked for feedback from this newsgroup back in 1999 and many
    others shared a similar experience.

    On the surface, this software seems to be one of the best packages out
    there...we wouldn't have bought it otherwise. However, I will never again
    consider purchasing software from a company that doesn't stand behind their
    product with some sort of money-back guarantee (even if it's as little as 30
    days). Think about how critical this software will be to the ongoing
    operation of your company and then ask yourself if you want to rely on a
    company that doesn't return phone calls and doesn't consider customer
    satisfaction a core value of their business.

    As always, BUYER BEWARE and good for you for asking.

    Reg Siemens
    Tower Security Systems Inc.
    Winnipeg, Canada

    P.S. If you would like to discuss this further or would like copies of my
    email exchange with Bob Zimmerlich (Z-Micro president) that clearly
    documents what I refer to above, feel free to email me by changing the cold
    to hot in the reply-to address.
     
  6. Reg Siemens wrote
    Sounds like a similar experience I had with Dilloware's Billing Clerk
    program. Don't ever buy anything from Dilloware. They actually build time
    bombs into the software to make it crash periodically, so you'll have to pay
    for an entire year of tech support so they'll "fix" the problem. Seems
    others have found this out the hard way:
    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/computers/dilloware.htm
    js
     
  7. ladygeek

    ladygeek Guest

    The first thing I would tell you to do about the paper files is fairly
    simple. I worked my way through college as a secretary.

    You need to use "filecheck-out" cards to sign files out of the file
    cabinet(s). That will control who has what file at what time. And if
    it sits on someone's desk you can track it down unless they handed the
    file to someone else without modifying the "filecheck-out" card.
    That's when I fined them 50 cents per day but that was over 20 years
    ago to anyone who took a file out without signing one of those cards.
    I would guess a buck or two would be enough to reinforce the penalty
    of keeping files out of the filing system. You also need to have 1
    person to keep control of the keys to the filing cabinets so that it's
    easy to manage and make sure that files are returned to the proper
    place in the cabinet. I realize this is a bit more complicated but
    this works as long as the rule is strictly enforced.

    Most office supply companies carry these cards - they are the same
    size as a file folder.

    Once people see the value of this system, they are willing to comply
    and it makes it easy to control the original file information which
    you should do anyway because databases need to be supported by
    physical data.

    Hope that helps.

    Ladygeek - the original
     
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