The Software Bureau continues to lead the marketplace in data processing, data hygiene, and Mailmark software. Around 150 organisations rely on Cygnus, SwiftSort and GeMMA, and with the release of further Swift products over the previous 12 months including PAF, Dedupe, Cleanse and Match, we have been adding to the broad range of solutions available for our customers.
To ensure the business remains acutely focused on those real-world needs of data professionals, The Software Bureau published a benchmark customer survey in October this year. We asked customers to provide feedback about everything from product capabilities, support response times and knowledge, and matters affecting our collective businesses. The results are now in!
How does our customer support team score?
Our support team scored an average of 9.11 out of 10, with 21 responders giving them 10 out of 10. This is an increase on last year where we achieved a satisfaction rating of 8.94/10. There were also 12 responders that gave the team 9 out of 10, and of the 43 who answered the question, only 3 scored us below 8. We will be in touch with them to discuss the reasons for the lower scores. Our aim is to provide the best software support and customer satisfaction amongst all equivalent software providers, so we’re keen to discuss any issues with customers that may cause them to score us below 8, or even below 10!
How Likely Is It That You Would Recommend The Software Bureau?
We were pleased to receive an average score of 8.84 out of 10 for this, an improvement over last year where we scored 8.3.
Why Clients Choose The Software Bureau Over Competitors
As per previous surveys, the most popular answer for choosing The Software Bureau over our competitors was the unique functionality, closely followed by ease of use and being a previous user.
As our product range has increased significantly over the previous twelve months, this years’ survey included a satisfaction rating for the products listed below. In addition, we asked if users expected their usage to grow. The below table shows the average satisfaction rating (out of 10), and an indication of whether usage will increase, stay the same, or decrease.
It’s encouraging that nearly half of our customers expect their use of our software to increase, plus just under half expected usage to stay the same. Very few expected their workload to decrease which given factors such as GDPR, Brexit, and a decline in direct mail volumes, points to a general level of optimism. Data cleansing and hygiene was noted as a targeted area of growth by several customers, as was more complex data processing work.
How Can We Improve Cygnus?
Similar answers were provided this year to those provided in last years’ survey – automation, Unicode and training/documentation being the main concerns.
On the subject of automation, then we do have some news of improvements to Cygnus. We have introduced something called ‘Beacon’ (Cygnus Status Tracking) which provides more feedback about the status of processing and provides more flexibility in managing automated processing. Look out for a Webinar covering this in the near future.
Cygnus is unlikely to cater for Unicode for many years to come, but all Swift solutions are Unicode compatible with the exception of Sort, but that will change in early 2020.
We recognise that Cygnus documentation is lacking, and we received and acknowledged the same comments last year. All I can say is sorry, and we will endeavour to improve them. As far as training is concerned; we advertised several Academy training courses in the previous 12 months but due to a lack of bookings, we have stopped arranging them for the time being. We are of course always happy to arrange on site training.
How Can We Improve the Swift products?
There were very few suggestions for improvements to the Swift products, which I will take as good news! Better navigation of settings was mentioned specifically, and a few improvements or missing details such as a Zonal breakdown in SwiftSort.
How Can We Improve GeMMA?
There were two main comments; 1) Automation. This was raised last year, and information was provided about how you can automate the uploading of eManifests. Again, those respondents raising this will be contacted directly. 2) Sharing. A few customers mentioned sharing the database that stores the eManifests so colleagues can also manage the uploads. Again, this is possible via a configuration change and again, those customers will be contacted directly.
The most common request from our customers was for more ‘Tips and Tricks’ webinars and videos, as it was in last years’ survey. Watch this space!
We asked how the introduction of GDPR has affected your business, and it was an even spread across the four possible answers of ‘In a negative way’, a ‘Positive way’, ‘No affect at all’, or ‘Don’t know’. I’m not sure what to conclude from this, so I’ll let you come to your own conclusions!
The same question for Brexit resulted in the majority stating that they didn’t know. The next most common answer was that it has had ‘No affect at all’! I guess we will all wait and see when it’s sorted once and for all (If it ever is!).
We added a couple of specific questions about automation in this years’ survey. We recognise that we have been a little slow to react to the demands of our clients in this area, but with the changes to Cygnus mentioned above (Beacon), and the Command Line and API functionality now available in the Swift suite, we feel we are moving in the right direction. 70% of the survey respondents stated that automation is a priority.
What do we do well, and where can we improve?
It’s reassuring that the vast majority pointed out that our Support team are very responsive and knowledgeable. Of course, we aren’t perfect, and there were a couple of negative comments about the expediency of issue resolution. Our aim is to provide a quick answer, and the correct one, but if we can’t, or it does require developer input, then we should at least let you know and keep you updated.
All respondents will be contacted directly about their contribution, which we are grateful to receive. Negative comments can of course help and guide us so we develop and improve our software to your benefit.
Thanks for completing the survey and please note that having done this survey for three years now, we will be taking a break in 2020.