8 Things P.O.S. Companies Won’t Say— Except for the Great Ones

(adapted from consulting article on BNET – The CBS Interactive Business Network)
  1. “Implementation will be more disruptive than you hope.” All projects are disruptive.  In fact, the best projects are often hugely disruptive, as well they should be — you’re making changes.  A POS Software company who downplays the disruption factor is inexperienced or fibbing.  POS consultants who don’t sugar-coat up front are much more likely to shoot straight throughout the life of your relationship.
  2. “I don’t know.” Sales and tech support people love to know. Can you blame them? A POS company willing to say, “I don’t know — let’s figure it out,” is more likely to deliver a real solution via collaboration than the ones who pretend to be omniscient.
  3. “We can’t provide a turn-key solution.” There are no turn-key solutions unless the purchase involves very simple equipment, hardware, or applications.  Even then, some amount of training and process modification is usually necessary.  There’s always more involved on your end than you estimate so the more you know ahead of time, the better your plan and the more likely you’ll end up on-budget and on time.
  4. “I’m not sure I understand the requirements.” Some consultants love fuzzy system requirements because “misunderstandings” or “gaps” create wiggle room later.  Great POS consultants want to know as much as possible about your business since the better they understand your expectations the easier it is to deliver.  A POS company that makes it too easy up front is likely to make it really hard later.  Great POS consultants may drive you crazy seeking details early on — but that’s a good thing.
  5. “You don’t need us to do that.” Great POS consultants are willing to point out ways their customers can save money.  Losing a little revenue is better than losing customers who realize they purchased services they didn’t need.  Great POS companies operate just like you do; they try to build long-term business relationships.
  6. “Your team/partner/employee is telling me something different… let’s sort things out.” What you want and what your colleagues want, especially end-user employees, are often two very different things.  Look for a POS company who tries to reconcile conflicting perspectives and varying needs so the project scope is clearly defined.  A clearly defined project protects you.
  7. “We’ll want to come back a month or so later, at no charge, just to see how things turned out.” All POS companies focus on successful project completion.  The problem is that some believe “successful completion” means “final payment.”  Great POS companies care about how the project turned out for you.  The best POS companies understand that checking in from time to time has something in it for them too: Identifying problems helps to improve their processes.
  8. “No.” Rarely can a POS company provide everything you request for the price and schedule you need.  “No” is disappointing but is often the answer you most need to hear up front.  Would you rather create a plan based on reality or on empty promises?  Some POS consultants work on the “agree now, modify later” principle.  Find one who doesn’t.