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Seth Lessans: The Importance Of Post-Sale Support


MuniBilling would like to highlight our head of Client Success, Seth Lessans, today to help give readers an in-depth look into how this team ensures operational success for our clients.

For today's Ask The Expert blog, we'll focus on the importance of post-sale support within the Utility Billing System transition process after purchasing a new system!


Q: When people invest in a new Utility Billing software, they sometimes don't know that once the sale closes, they're offered post-sale support to guide them through the launch of their new system. How would you best describe what a successful post-sale system would look like?

To me, a successful post-sale support system is a team-based effort that starts even before you purchase the software. There are two people on this team: one being the client and the other being the new software provider's post-sale support.

Now, from the client's perspective, they must understand that once they get a new software application, their life is supposed to be better. Their utility billing experience should be more efficient and they should realize some improvements from that investment. 

The goal of a post-sale support team is to ensure that efficiency happens and continually improve upon it. What can your new provider offer the client to make it a better experience for them?

Is it showing them better techniques to improve their efficiency?

Could it be looking at the data in the system and pointing out potential problems before they become large ones?

Does it offer post-sale suggestions to help the client achieve their ultimate goal better?

When I think of what a post-sale support relationship with a client would look like, it is a partnership with the client providing feedback to the post-sale support so they can synthesize it and show them another way to tackle a challenge or even just lending an ear to the client regarding their current challenges.

Q: So then, what are the most beneficial features of post-sale support? More specifically, for a Utility Billing System?


I would say the most beneficial feature is having an individual liaison that understands both your team AND your business and whose job it is to ensure your success with the software. I think that's the best feature because you'll always know who you're working with regularly and it's like adding on a free team member you don't have to pay benefits for. 

The other feature that goes along with that is having that experience of working together so your full post-sale support team can work to help you improve your processes over the lifetime of our arrangement.


Q: If a Utility Billing Software did not provide post-sale support, what would that look like for an organization? What significant areas could that impact?


What your organization does today is not what you'll be doing tomorrow, so the client success relationship is ever changing and evolving because the world is ever-changing and evolving...these last few years have really highlighted that.

Software doesn't solve problems, but people do, and the software is the tool that people use to solve issues. When you have a strong post-sale support team, what you really get is additional people on your side who know the software, know the industry, and are dedicated to helping you tackle your current challenges. 

Our strength is that we provide this level of support and actually run the billing operations for hundreds of clients all over the country, so we have a really good idea of trends and things that are successful for organizations. 

Without an extra set of hands, well, you'd be on your own to try and keep up AND be handed a tool without someone to continually coach you on how to best use it. 


Q: Does post-sale support ever truly go away once an organization's new Utility Billing Software launches?


It should never go away! Your post-sale support should have regular meetings at intervals that are appropriate for both parties, and communication should be continued and mutual! 

The point of any sort of client success relationship is to ensure that you are successful! To do that, our Client Success Managers will be committed to your business long term. 

It's an ever-evolving process, and because nothing ever stays the same, post-sale support should never stop. Post-sale support should never entirely go away; communication should continue to help evolve the business.


Q: Is there any facet of post-sale support that you find organizations don't use often that they should? Maybe a feature that gets overlooked?


I think any sort of regular business review is often something organizations underutilize or don't utilize at all. 

Businesses, especially those who bill for utilities, are an ever-evolving entity. There's always new innovation, new technology, new regulation, and more. There's also the added element for our industry that the teams who run the billing will often have other jobs and tasks, and may not be able to dedicate their time entirely to utility billing. 

If you have business reviews at regular intervals, you have a third party team member who can dedicate the time to assess where the business is at now based on the data that your utility billing tool is seeing and better understand areas to improve. 

These reviews are almost like a free consultant that takes a look at your operation, and give you advice on where you can improve, and who doesn't love free guidance?  

If you don't take advantage of that, you run the risk of encountering stagnation, which is why I recommend fully utilizing the business review to avoid massive long-term problems.


Q: How can organizations best partner with post-sale support to get the most out of the relationship?

I think the biggest key is the word you used, "relationship."

If you understand the basics of a relationship, there is communication involved. That's why I think communicating is the best way to get the most out of the relationship.

This can mean learning more about how the software works, communicating new features and benefits your new provider rolls out, assessing where your organization is going in 90 days, three years, five years, and so on.

Without the two-way communication and trust in the teams, there truly isn't a partnership. 


Seth Lessans is a client success manager with 20+ years of experience leading teams to success. If you're interested in learning more best practices for increasing your revenue, feel free to signup for our free four-webinar series on increasing operational efficiency in your organization. 

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