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Mike's Message

Saving a Company from Its Successes









In 2000, our retail sales and service operations faced the dilemma many of you are facing now or will be soon; the transition from the old leadership to the new generation. This was a frustrating time for everyone. The old leadership believed they knew how to be successful, after all they had the business to prove it, and weren't shy about letting the new generation know it. However the old generation knew the new generation was correct, the world was changing and customers were changing and the business needed to change too.

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Long ago our company had purchased a cutting edge, "integrated" system, but now it was more difficult to train new hires on how to use the system than it was to train them to do their jobs. Our staff had been doing their jobs for so long, they couldn't explain why they did them.  We depended on “legacy” employees to do these jobs but all too often even they couldn't do them. When a new hire was trained, they sometimes said, “Are you kidding me!  Why can’t I just do it the obvious way?” 

With our new generation now in "charge", system change was priority one; we planned, re-organized, and built work-arounds. Our extensive office staff became our "new" computer system: tracking returns, vendor promises, credits due, service productivity, client satisfaction surveys,  referral business partners,  white glove client issues, and customer relationship marketing. We built a "system" to provide us with the data to measure and improve the consumer experience necessary to grow our business. We had leveraged our resources for all they were worth, yet we still had ended up with a very complicated process to manage, and one which was not much more integrated than the original system because critical functions were being managed outside the system. An improvement to be sure but the labor costs accompanying this improvement were way too high.

This was the "light bulb" moment; we realized we had to leverage the latest technology to sustain and expand our ability to create great customer experiences. Automating our customer focused processes was the only way our entire staff would be able to deliver the consistent effort required to achieve our goals: implementing continuous improvement to meet the needs of the new market and new customer. We went in search of this system; it had to exist. I was promised that it did.  Unfortunately, every visit was a disappointment. Everything was marketing hype. Still we had a business to run and the customers weren't waiting for us, so after 2 years, I compromised and purchased a system which, at the time, I believed met most of our needs.

Installation took place on October 1, 2006 and "throw-out" took place on December 31, 2006. A total waste of capital and staff resources and, inadvertently, but fortunately, a very "valuable" learning experience.


Having documented everything, I now possessed the necessary knowledge, an exact description of my goal; unfortunately I didn't have anyone who could create it. At least that's what I thought. It turns out I had someone who had already built major parts of the dream because he had been creating these parts all along. Andy Frazier had been building the supplemental systems we had needed, tracking and providing business intelligence on: year over year sales comparisons, vendor damage promises and returns, month end credits from suppliers and buying group, instant rebate reimbursement tracking, delivery performance, service tech performance, aged/distressed inventory, products on loan with cabinet shops, builder/designer referral business incentives, and consumer surveys.
  Since Andy had already studied and documented our existing processes, and already built supplemental systems to handle our customer experience needs, he was in the position to pull it all together; from day to day operations to business intelligence tools. 

ReliaServ was launched in January 2007, and ReliaSale later in the year.
 

We transformed our operation; adding additional stores and greatly reducing labor costs, increasing productivity and employee satisfaction, and, most importantly creating positive customer experiences and profitability. 


I know Reliable Softworks can do the same for you.



Mike Baron

President Reliable Softworks