What to Consider When Evaluating Community Development Software

Selecting a software provider is a major investment in your time and money. Select the right solution and you’ll have a smooth implementation, software that is easy to learn, use, and maintain. Select the wrong solution and you’ll waste time, money, energy, and have unhappy users and constituents. You may find yourself back at the starting point a few months or years later going through the process of selecting a new vendor. Again.

Here are the Top 10 Support Considerations When Selecting a Community Development Software Provider

1. Once my system is implemented and I have a question, or need a change to the system, who will determine the severity or priority of my request, me or the vendor?

    Why this is important: Many vendors dictate the priority of your support requests based on their standards. Your input or need is not taken into consideration. When you need urgent help, you should receive it quickly. With citizenserve support you set the priority of your requests, either Urgent or Standard.

2. How long will it take for the vendor to have a live person respond to your request?

    Why this is important: Many vendors don’t publish or guarantee response times, or if they do, they are measured in days not minutes. With citizenserve support you set the priority of your requests, either Urgent or Standard. You’ll receive a response from a person on your urgent requests within 15 minutes. You’ll receive a response on your standard requests within 60 minutes. Our actual average response times in 2024 is 6 minutes for urgent requests, 15 minutes for standard requests.

3. How long does it take for my support request to be completed?

    Over 80% of Citizenserve support requests are completed on the same day or within 24 hours.

4. What is included in standard support? Do we have to pay extra for additional levels of support?

    Citizenserve provides unlimited support which includes training, reports, dashboard metrics, and all configuration and setup changes. There are no additional paid levels of support, all users get unlimited support.

5. What isn’t included in standard support, when would I need to pay additional fees?

    Why this is important: Make sure you understand what is and isn’t covered in your support, oftentimes there are hidden clauses that only become known once you need something, you can easily find yourself in an endless loop of change orders. The only things not included in citizenserve standard support are system integrations, data migrations, changing our base (non-configurable) code, and mass data updates.

6. How are upgrades handled? Do I need to install changes or apply patches? Are there costs for upgrades?

    Citizenserve seamlessly installs system upgrades after business hours. You will never have to apply a patch or install changes. Citizenserve will never charge fees to upgrade or use new features.

7. How many versions of the software are there? How long are they supported?

    Citizenserve has one, ever evolving and improving, version of the software since 2003.

    Why this is important: Many vendors use upgrades as a revenue source, and end support on older versions to help concentrate their required support knowledge and to receive upgrade income. Since 2003, Citizenserve has continuously improved one version of the software.

8. Who handles my support requests? Are they the same people that did my implementation or is this a separate group?

    Our support team members are the same folks that worked on your setup and implementation. Our team is designed to serve all aspects of our clients’ needs, each team member works on new customer implementations and ongoing support.

9. What is the vendor’s staff turnover? Will I constantly be working with new people?

    Why this is important: Companies with high turnover and unhappy employees have a harder time delivering successful implementations. You might want to visit Glassdoor.com and see what employees say about their company. Citizenserve has low staff turnover, many on our team have been here for over 20 years. On average, our team members have been with the company 7 years which means you’ll work with the same people year after year; they will understand your setup and be fully capable of helping you, no matter your needs.

10. Has the software vendor ever had a security breach or been a victim of ransomware?

    Citizenserve has never had a security breach or been a victim of ransomware. The citizenserve infrastructure is simple and easy to monitor.