A major CCS software provider recently published a national survey of the childcare industry. Not surprisingly the section on software concludes that it’s software is the most awesome. Big surprise. However I discovered one statistic I do agree with – roughly one third of childcare centres changed their software due to poor or inadequate support. I’d say more than half of Smart Centrals customers came to us for the same reason. And stayed.
So what should you look for in a CCS software? I’ll resist the temptation to simply list all the things Smart Central does well as is typical for most “buyers guide” articles.
FLEXIBLE SUPPORT – But let’s start with the thing most users complain about. Of course everyone says they have great user support but that certainly isn’t the case for everyone. Ask them what their average response time is (if they say more than 24 hours then look elsewhere). Ask if you can choose THE WAY you want to be supported. Some people prefer phone, others email, many like Live Chat. Is the support local or overseas?
TAILORED TRAINING – Look for training that can be provided on your terms on a schedule that suits you and adapts to the needs of your centre and time availability. Ensure training is not a hidden cost to sting you later and that you receive training until you are happy you know what you’re doing rather than rushed through a cookie-stamped training program
INNOVATION – Covid-19 has exposed some software to be less than adaptable to rapidly changing needs. How quickly did the vendor release changes after important Government announcements? 3 days? A week? A Month? Look for 24-48 hour turnaround on important updates. Can they cite specific firsts or innovations like contactless sign-in for parents via mobile devices for example? You’re choosing a partner to take your centre into the future, make sure they’re not stuck in the past on a clumsy platform and slow to embrace change
INTEGRATION & DEVELOPMENT – Does the software integrate into other major software solutions like accounting systems, this is a common requirement for many centres. What functionality does it provide? Can you process enrolments, statements and direct debits, how about managing staff to child ratios? Is the software a registered CCMS solution? Finally is the software hosted on on-shore secure servers and does it perform automatic updates and data backups for peace of mind?
These are just some of the key points to consider when choosing a new software – do your research and remember one thing. You’re not just choosing software, you’re building a relationship with people, you need to trust and even like those people. Request a no obligation demo and speak to some reference sites then trust your instinct and go with it.
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