Have you ever had to call a customer service center to get information about a product or service and had difficulty understanding the person with whom you are speaking? It’s a pretty common occurrence as many customer service call centers are located outside the U.S. and usually in a place where English is the second language. So, inevitably there are some communication challenges. Do you become frustrated during these encounters, and question whether or not the person on the other end of the phone truly understands your needs?
Communication break downs happen all the time! The best way to describe it is in terms of debits and credits. If your use these terms with a CPA, then it means something very different to them than it does your banker. Every industry has its own lingo and acronyms. Just because you don’t know them doesn’t mean that you don’t have some understanding of them, but when it comes to purchasing ERP Software, you better be ready to ask a lot of questions.
ERP software language can be very different in meaning than your everyday business language, and these subtle terms can make or break your ERP software purchase. In fact, carefully wording your questions and gaining true understanding is essential during the ERP Software evaluation and demonstration process. In fact, it is better to ask a lot of questions in the beginning of the process than later and feel really foolish when you realize that you don’t have what you need.
Adam Bluemner addresses this in his article, “30 Ways to Ask Software providers the Questions You Really Meant to Ask”. For example, when you ask the question, “Is this software easy to use?”, how do you think the sales rep or demonstrator is going to respond? Of Course it is easy to use!
These people aren’t being dishonest with you. For them it is easy to use, because they are talking about it and demonstrating it everyday.
The other language barrier is often found within the software proposal. There are often terms and acronyms that you may be unfamiliar with in a proposal. When reviewing an ERP software proposal, make sure you understand the number licenses your are purchasing, how much implementation will be, is training included, and what are the annual maintenance costs. All to often, disputes arise because there was a communication break down that can be attributable to terminology and the outright misinterpretation of a proposal. Again, your salesperson isn’t being dishonest with you, they are just operating under the assumption that you understand every word of the proposal before you sign it.
Bottom line, don’t be afraid to ask very specific questions and get the clarification that you need before purchasing an ERP software. It is also the only way to truly compare software packages – apples to apples.