Am I the only one able to access my Account?
In a word, Yes. When signing up for an account, you choose a username and password. The username is then forwarded to a secure administration page. The username is needed for tracking the membership as a whole. Your password on the other hand is immediately encoded and scrambled upon signup and can be changed at anytime only by you. If you forget what it is, you’ll need to go to the Login screen to retrieve it. The Customer Factor will send it to you immediately.
What forms of payment do you accept? Can I mail in a check each month?
We accept Master card, Visa, Discover, and American express. Sorry we don’t accept payments by mail at this time. The reason is because it’s necessary for you to create your username/password online for security purposes. But not only does accepting checks/money orders by mail make the signup process less secure, it also creates more paperwork, and our time is better spent on creating more and more features for our members, not on handling extra paperwork. As a side note, you are also able to pay by Echeck directly from your bank account. During the signup process, you’ll be provided the various payment options that you can choose from.
What happens if my payment is declined in a particular month?
We understand that payment situations occur like address changes, a credit card expires, credit card limits are reached, etc. etc. So if we get notice of a declined credit card after a payment attempt, there is no disruption of service. We simply send out a couple of “reminder” emails letting you know about the decline that occurred and we ask you to submit updated payment information. This can be done securely from within The Customer Factor or you can email/call us with your updated payment information.
Any chance of offering a different subscription period or payment plan?
Currently the only two subscription periods we offer are monthly and annually. The monthly subscription option is $44.95 and an annual subscription is $449.50 (2 months free with this option). We may introduce a quarterly and semiannual payment plan at some point in the future, but it’s not in the works right now.
Update: If you prefer to pay semiannually, please call our office after you’ve been with us for 30 days and we’ll switch you to a semiannual recurring billing option.
I'd rather make a one-time payment instead of having to pay monthly or quarterly. Possible?
No. There are many reasons why as I’m about to explain. First of all, the value of The Customer Factor is such where if we did offer the software for a one-time payment, it would fall within the $1000 to $2000 range. This isn’t some basic piece of software that we created just fooling around one day. It’s a serious tool with a serious investment attached combined with thousands of hours in development time. The idea for The Customer Factor was formed in the summer of 2003 and the initial version was released in November 2004. This’ll give you some idea as to how extensive it was to put together and create. Anyway…you probably don’t have $1000 to $2000 sitting around. If you do, great. But most service business owners do not. So we’ve priced it in such a way where absolutely anyone can gain access to the one tool they must have in their business.
And second, if we charged a one time payment for The Customer Factor, we wouldn’t be able to back it up with 7 day a week support and we wouldn’t be able to upgrade the software as often as we do.
You need to understand that this transaction has to be a win-win. There are too many people out there looking for “cheap” without really thinking through the repercussions of owning “cheap”. For example…I recently received an email from someone wanting to join The Customer Factor. And he was explaining why he was unhappy with his current software. I’ve blanked out the software name so as not to embarrass them, but here’s the email that was sent to me:
I have been very disappointed with the lack of flexibility with <software name>. Many shortcomings! When I sent their support a list of things that need modified or changed to make <software name> a more user friendly and comprehensive program, I think they were offended by that. Every so often they add something or modify something and it is never what I consider, a substantial improvement.
In <software name>, I have tried to tell them they need a customer data base. Where you can assign different task to the same Customer. The way it is now, every time you want to do a new task, you have to set that customer up again, totally separate. It’s like they don’t get it. It’s hard for me to believe that the designers are running or working closely with someone running a window cleaning service.
When the software name was mentioned in the email, I’m thinking to myself “obviously they can’t make regular upgrades or provide support”. The last time I checked, they charge a one time payment of $85. How many upgrades and support can they provide for a one-time payment of $85? So the old saying of “you get what you pay for” applies here. We on the other hand charge a reasonable price that allows us to provide support that is second to none. Most times if you call you’ll be talking directly to the developer of The Customer Factor. How many software companies do you know of where 1) you are even given a phone number, and 2) you’re able to call and speak to the developer (not a sales rep or a low level tech support person)?
And finally…by offering The Customer Factor as a subscription based software product, this allows us to continuously add more value into the software. And remember we don’t come to you later on and ask you for more money in order to get this feature or that feature. What’ll happen is the next time you login to The Customer Factor, you’ll see the new feature and you can start using it right away. In the long run, we’re saving you the necessity of having to buy upgraded versions of a software product or specific new features that a software developer wants to sell you. (ie: Buy Quickbooks and you’ll quickly realize what I mean. The sales pitches never stop.)
I've read where you regularly upgrade The Customer Factor. Any extra fees for this?
No! The biggest cash cow for a software company is when they introduce an “upgrade” or new feature for their software and then send out a notice to their users that it’s available for a price. One software program we know of comes up with new stuff regularly which is good, but there is always a price tag associated with each upgrade. So they’ll sell you a basic program at the beginning, but if you want more, it’ll cost you. Do you prefer a program where you know what your investment is (and you can lock it in) and all upgrades and improvements are included? Or do you prefer a program where the developers are always coming to you with their hand out looking for more money? Option 1 would be my pick. Oh by the way…The Customer Factor is in option 1. :o) Our pricing structure is easy on the budget with no surprises.
Here’s some recent news to really bring this “additional fees” point home. A member of The Customer Factor sent us the question and answer below that was posted in a forum. Check it out…
Question: You have to pay a $250 fee just to be able to change the margins on an invoice or the dimensions or your company logo. Hence my invoices all print incorrectly and my company logo looks distorted, but I refuse to sink any more money into this program.
Yes, a Crystal Reports License is needed to customize reports. The $250 will let you have the ability to create custom reports or Tweak the reports already in the program.
A $250 fee just so you can have the ability to customize invoices? That’s nutty. It should be included just like it is with The Customer Factor.
Why is The Customer Factor web-based software?
Excellent question. And we get asked this a lot. Here are some advantages to web-based software vs software that you install on your computer.
Easy Access – You can access The Customer Factor from anywhere. Internet access is all you need. So you’re not tied down to one computer. This is an important benefit. A member recently told me that he needed some business data in The Customer Factor but was too far from home. He stopped into his local library, logged in, and got the info. he needed. So again…you can access your data 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from any computer (or mobile device like an iphone or android phone) in the world that has an internet connection.
Safety – If you had your data on your computer, it’s not necessarily safe unless you specifically take measures to back it up regularly. Most people don’t do regular backups. We received a call from a member not too long ago who called us in a panic. His entire hard drive crashed. He lost everything. He also thought he lost all his business data in The Customer Factor. We reassured him that his data is safe and secure.
Updates – We are regularly updating and improving The Customer Factor. The program is never standing still. So do you want to receive update notices all the time where you’re regularly having to download new software onto your computer? Perhaps if you only had to do it once a year, that’s ok. But we are making regular changes/improvements every couple of weeks! So with our software being web-based, we are able to make the changes directly on our server which means that the next time you login, you’ll benefit from them. No downloading and nothing special for you to do! As a quick side note, I actually read a comment in a forum recently where the guy thought we had to shut down in order to do uploads/updates. Absolutely not! Our updates and upgrades are done “behind the scenes” with no inconvenience to you!
Is The Customer Factor complicated to use?
The Customer Factor is the easiest software product you’ll ever use and we’re not just saying that because we created it. Yes…there is a slight learning curve as there is with any software product, but the vast majority of the functionality and features within the software are self explanatory. No technical jargon or fancy wording is used. This just complicates everything and leads to frustration and confusion. Our programming team was instructed to keep it simple where any user, regardless of computer or internet knowledge, can use and benefit from The Customer Factor in their business. How simple? One of our members has his 8 year old daughter logging in and inserting data into his account.
If you do need assistance, you can click on any number of question mark images () that’ll pop up small information boxes which will providing you additional notes on many of the features. Plus we provide in-depth video tutorials for your viewing pleasure. And of course you can contact our support staff 7 days a week for questions, situations, phone teaching, or any extra hand holding that you may need.
Do you offer a demo that i can try out?
We sure do! Simply send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and include the username (between 5 and 15 characters) you would like us to create the account with. We’ll set it up and send you over the login info so that you can login yourself and see exactly how powerful The Customer Factor really is!
You mention that I can backup my data from within the software, but I'm concerned about my data being on your server. Can you tell me what steps you've taken to protect my data? I need to know that my data is fully protected.
Your data is obviously the most important part of your business. We understand that wholeheartedly. Lost Data = No Business. So prior to launching The Customer Factor back in November 2004, I hired a security consultant to provide the know-how and knowledge we needed to protect the servers from the bad guys. So everyone of his recommendations were implemented. This included how to handle backups and how to protect files on the server. The end result is that we’ve had zero issues with lost data. Now does this mean that it can’t happen? No. No security measures are 100% foolproof. There are some pretty smart hackers out there.
But here are some things to consider. We currently take automatic backups of the data on our software servers each and every night. And as mentioned back on the main web page, you can easily backup your own data to your computer, a CD, or any place else that you want to. So let’s assume that a bad guy comes along and totally brings down The Customer Factor. Know how easy it is to bring The Customer Factor back? All we have to do is upload all the files to the server and restore the data from our more recent backup. If you want, you can even “restore” your backed up file that you saved back into The Customer Factor. This ensures that your account contains data that is the most recent. This is why we recommend doing a backup each time you’re in your account adding or making changes (adding a customer, scheduling an appt., creating an invoice, etc.).
A final note. The above paragraph might actually scare some people who read it. After all, we talk about “bad guys” and “hackers”. Hey they’re out there, so we may as well talk about ’em. But we’d like to put this in real world perspective. How many hackers do you know of that are interested in data that a service business might have? Do you really think they care about your business and your customers? The news you hear about in the papers on occasion about stolen data and hackers are all about the bad guys breaking into sites and stealing credit card numbers and social security numbers. None of this type of information is stored within The Customer Factor. All credit card/bank transactions are processed by our third party merchant processor, Authorize.net. And we have nothing to do with social security numbers. We store nothing on the server that anyone even wants. So the bottom line…no one has any interest in compromising your data. Sorry to burst your bubble, but your data is worthless to anyone but you. :o)
What happens if you sell The Customer Factor or go out of business?
I am never going to sell The Customer Factor. I can say that with absolute certainty. They say that everyone has their price. Not me. I have poured my heart and soul into creating this software along with investing a whole lot of money. There’s no way I can walk away from it. Plus I enjoy working with our members too much.
And as far as going out of business, there will always be a need for a comprehensive software product like The Customer Factor. Since our software was first released, we’ve built it to almost 2000 users with more coming on board every day. Keep in mind that we’re not your every day run of the mill software product. Our focus has been and always will be service businesses. So we’re not competing, and have no desire to compete, against the likes of software products like Quickbooks, Xero, Freshbooks, etc. We’ve built a software product that is focused and fills a huge need that most software products (like the ones I just mentioned) don’t provide. Too many software products try to be all things to all businesses. We’ve taken the opposite approach and devote our time and energy to service businesses. Bottom line: We’re not going anywhere!
What happens if you get hit by a car?
Whew…this is depressing. :o) But I do have continuation plans in place. So if something happens to me, The Customer Factor will continue on far into the future. The Customer Factor isn’t about “me”. It’s about a group of dedicated people who stand behind The Customer Factor ready and willing to do what is necessary in order to continue providing you the best software solution for your business. As a side note, we can ask these “what if” questions all day long. There comes a time though when you have to trust your gut and go for it. Either continue on with the software program you’re using or come on in and be a part of the most exciting software product that you’ve ever seen. The choice is yours.