Builders' Merchants News

Director of operations Arthur Duffy (left) and product director Gary Brookshaw of Progressive Solutions.

Progressive brings pods to people

Published:  20 April, 2009

READING: Progressive Solutions’ user forum at the Microsoft Campus in Reading last month introduced the new pods that are being made available to bisTrack.

Developed from demand by users to enable them to gain more business intelligence, extra filters in the package offer greater flexibility and speed up processing time for reports.

Addressing the users on the day, Progressive’s managing director Arthur Duffy, said: “We have a duty to bring you along with us and not make things more complicated.”

The primary focus of the forum was customer service. Progressive Solutions recognises that although the product has been well received, its support service has not yet achieved the quality that the product and its customers should be able to expect.

Unlike many services or software providers who can standardise and even script the customer support, the company has found that its customer base is made up of businesses with very individual needs.

“We have achieved a lot and along the way we have found a few challenges,” Mr Duffy continued. One of these is that our service has to improve.

“It is not about providing software, it is about providing a solution.”

Neil Richards, services and support director, has been brought onboard to address these issues.

“About a year ago, Mr Duffy said we needed to look after our customers. I spent time understanding what Progressive Solutions did and understanding what its customers do. My aim is to ensure that we service the customer properly. I want to make sure that our competitors’ customers say ‘I think I’d like to be with Progressive’.

"Training is a part of that package. And any businesses, especially the smaller businesses, have IT networks that are not standard, that have been tweaked in some way, or set up in ‘interesting' ways that made sense at a certain moment in time.

“Most new software needs the environment to be set up in a certain way and the line between installing the new software and tweaking the environment to make it fit can often blur, allowing elements of irrelevant network maintenance to creep in,” Mr Richards explained.

That is why Progressive Solutions is looking at providing different service levels in order to satisfy the needs of the broadest range of customers, by making it clear where the company’s responsibility begins and ends, but also by allowing the work that needs to be done, to get done with the least interruption.

Steve Shorey of Alsford Timber supported these statements: “BisTrack is an excellent product. Rollout was difficult with teething problems, mostly because bisTrack did not have enough staff. But, the system is fabulous. I hope there are more developments to come.”

As a part of his information gathering, Mr Richards had been to Alsford Timber and talked to the staff. Mr Shorey reported that half the issues they had were directly resolved from that meeting.

One of the problems merchants confessed to, was their own staff. People are resistant to change, and even though those staff who have taken bisTrack onboard find their working life much easier, there are still those who will insist on finding ways to work without using it because they are afraid of the ‘big brother’ effect.

Colin Dean of Arnold Laver is another fan of the package: “We have been with bisTrack from the beginning. The whole system is very easy to train people on.”

Mr Dean is proud of having had a hand in developing the system, especially its webtrack and mobile. “I think that IT should be considered a part of the business,” he said. “Not apart from it."