The Fryers Tale - Episode 3

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Keith Fenner, European general manager, ACCPAC InternationalKeith Fenner

Much as we would all like to get it right first time, sometimes the secret of good customer service is in how you manage situations that don’t go to plan.

I did my own customer relationship management with Fryers to make sure they understood that they had made the right initial purchasing decision in choosing ACCPAC Advantage Series™. Once they saw that Advantage Series was the foundation component of a complete suite of end to end solutions we could supply, they were a lot happier,and especially interested in the possibilities with ACCPAC eCRM™.

The turning point was when we presented the proof of concept to them and showed what their route-planning and telesales modules would look like. I sent in a consultant to work up the spec and we mocked up a visual prototype. They'd showed a lot of faith in ACCPAC®, so we offered that element as a gesture of goodwill.

Neil Webb the commercial director and Dave Horwell came down to Slough for a follow-up meeting. We gave them lunch and showed them the spec and the sample screens. Once we had tackled the points they raised, I told Neil we would start the work immediately if he signed the contract there and then.

Neil looks after things when managing director Ian Silverwood is away. I could see that he wanted to sign - but not without a fight!

We'd already offered them a very good deal to customise the route delivery and telesales modules but Neil wanted to protect his investment and business expansion - and we did sign the deal in that meeting. It's exactly what I would expect from a commercial director of a successful company.

I mentioned to Neil that Martin Smith from C2 Networks was going for some development training on eCRM and asked, "Why don't you send Dave on the same course?"

He agreed, and it’s been beneficial. They've both got a common knowledge about the product, and Dave should be able to take on minor modifications himself. It was also a good way to assure the client that he'd made the right decision.

The professional services group has also been busy. They've already turned around the initial spec and it looks good. Martin and I looked at it for the first time a few days ago.

Because eCRM is 100% Web-based, we can put it on a server and have a look from anywhere. Martin was at his office in Woking and I was here in Slough. The core is already there, but it's down to Martin now to test it and make sure the delivery and route planning modules work the way Fryers want.

It was amazing to see how the workflow processes linked through to the delivery routes. Even though the modules looked so different to the standard interface, they integrated with the other eCRM modules and the back-end accounts in the first prototype.

"It looks like we'll have no problems meeting their six-week deadline," Martin said.

The advantage of having a local team working with the developers in Vancouver is that we can get the feedback from Martin and the client here, do some work on it and then pass it on to the guys in Vancouver at 4pm. The next morning, we can wake up and have a look at what they've done.

There are a few more tweaks needed to change the report settings, and Martin will need to train the end-users before he goes in for the full implementation.

So far so good. But I'm going to have to check on our own delivery systems. We sent up the core eCRM modules to Dave Horwell at Fryers last week, only somebody sent out a five-user licence rather than the 20-user licence they bought.

I picked up the phone from Dave the morning they started running it. "This isn't what you said we would get at the demo," he quipped. I'm glad he has a sense of humour - but we've never sent out an activation key so fast.

Now it's time to cross our fingers. We're going to have to upgrade their Pervasive database to Microsoft SQL Server and Dave said he's migrating his operating system from Windows NT to Windows 2000. I hope they don't hit any glitches when Martin goes in with the customised modules.
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