5 Minutes With … Actsoft Professional Services

Here at Actsoft, we decided to give you a little bit of a peek behind the curtain, so to speak … to have a chance to get to know some of our staff just a little bit. Over the years, we’ve had ample opportunity to get to know each of our customers, but the reverse can’t always be said. And we want to change that.

So we decided, one by one, we’d drop by each of our departments and sit down with one team member from each to get to know a little bit more about them and their role with Actsoft. This week, we’re speaking with Linda Brandt, who works with our Professional Services department. Linda is one of the team members responsible for helping our customers out with special projects, while also providing professional support for our own staff as needed.

What is your position with Actsoft?
Professional Services Support Specialist

How long have you worked with the company?
11 Years

Have you always held your current title?
I started as a product consultant (now known as a customer advisor). I moved on to Tech Support as a tier 1 support specialist. The next position I held was tier 2 support specialist. During this period, I started working on integrations and custom reports, but the Professional Services department did not exist yet.

Tell us a little about yourself.
Despite the silly rumors that I am French Canadian, I am actually a native Floridian with deep roots in Tampa. My mom was Spanish and Cuban. She grew up in Ybor City [Tampa]. Her family included cigar rollers, musicians, clothing designers, and restaurant owners. My dad’s family was Austrian and English. They were carpenters, masons, farmers, and artists. I grew up on a small home farm. I have milked a cow and hoed many a garden row. I love nature (especially the beach), reading, cooking, baking, dancing, and I am obsessed with music of all genres. Before working for Actsoft, I had many different types of jobs that ran the gamut from food service to teaching. Most of all, I am endlessly curious and have a bona fide thirst for knowledge.

What does a typical day look like for you?
My day starts with coffee. While drinking coffee, I read and respond to my emails. I split my work schedule between technical support for customers who have Professional Services projects, support for Customer Experience advisors that are upgrading or migrating customers with Professional Services projects, and acting as the subject matter expert on pre-sales calls for sales members. Those activities are scheduled, but in between, I field questions and provide on-demand support to those departments, and direct requests from customers.

Describe a positive experience you’ve had with Professional Services.
I do not have a specific example, but I do have a scenario that has played out many times.  It is very rewarding to be on a pre-sales call that leads to the potential client coming on board as a customer. It is satisfying to witness their journey through our process that ends with a Professional Services project as a solution. A solution that makes their business model more efficient and productive. One that I had a hand in constructing. A process that builds positive working relationships with both customers and co-workers.

What types of challenges do you face and what steps do you take to overcome them?
As a tech support specialist, I deal with challenges. The first thing I do is gather all the details of the issue and what was done previously to resolve it. Usually, I have a good idea of what is going on before I connect to the customer’s server, but seeing is believing. I rely heavily on experience, so sometimes it is just the process of elimination and testing the results. I love a good challenge!

In what ways have you grown since starting with Actsoft?
My critical thinking skills have definitely improved. I can see the big picture and analyze the connections in a way I did not before. I started in the Customer Experience department before going to Tech Support. This was a big advantage because if you do not know the user interface you can overthink a situation. Sometimes it is just a configuration issue, not a technical issue. In addition, I have learned practical applications of SQL querying and programming skills I learned in college.

What advice would you give prospects looking to begin a career with Actsoft’s Professional Services team?
Product knowledge is key no matter what department you are going to work in. Be flexible. Be willing to adapt. The only constant at Actsoft is change. This works for me because I love learning something new and hate being bored. Working in the Professional Services department combines a lot of different knowledge and skills. You need to be both creative and analytical. The ability to think outside the box is a necessary skill. You will act as a project manager, a salesperson, a data analyst, and a solution designer. The consultant has to take the Actsoft product and apply it to the customer’s business model to solve their efficiency and productivity issues with a deliverable product. Most of all, do not be afraid to ask questions. Rely on your team members’ experience. No one person can know it all. In addition, this is a great place to work. A bad day at Actsoft is still better than a good day somewhere else. This is a company with a heart and we are a family. Welcome.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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5 Minutes With … Actsoft Sales

We recently launched a new series on our blog called “5 Minutes With …” Through this series, we want to give you a look at the inner workings at Actsoft. Since we’ve grown to learn so much about you and your businesses over the years, we want to give you a chance to learn a little more about us.

This week, we decided to sit down with a member of our team that is pivotal in making that first connection with you, our valued customers. Trae Robinson is a member of our sales team. As a sales executive, it’s his job to reach out to connect with customers and provide details about how our mobile solutions can help them.

What is your position with Actsoft?
Sales Accounting Executive

How long have you worked with the company?
Nine months.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Louisiana, graduated from USF (University of South Florida), and am a motorcycle enthusiast, Florida beach bum, and certified scuba diver. My favorite food is crab legs; favorite drink is bourbon. Something on my bucket list: camel racing in Dubai.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I contact cellphone carrier sales reps, run team meetings and customer presentations, answer pricing questions, send out email campaigns, and follow up with existing customers.

Describe a positive experience you’ve had on the sales floor.
There was a [new] customer who had a very tight implementation deadline because they were about to go on vacation for months. I was doubtful [at first] that we could meet the customer’s demands, [and was pleasantly] surprised at how quickly each department was able to step up and expedite the opportunity. The synergy from order processing, to accounting, to fulfillment, to [customer experience] was amazing. Actsoft is a well-oiled machine.

What types of challenges do you face and how do you overcome them?
Understanding the internal processing for creating accounts and orders. I research our documents and speak with resources [within Actsoft]. I also work with accounting, order processing, and revenue assurance to help better understand our processes.

In what ways have you grown since starting with Actsoft?
Working here has been incredible. I have been challenged to be more organized and to leverage technology to be more efficient. The Dream Achievers and Toastmasters programs have also been very instrumental in my development so far.

What advice would you give prospects looking to begin a career with Actsoft’s sales department?
Working in sales can be equal parts exhilarating, rewarding, and stressful. I believe anyone can be taught how to be a great salesperson, but it will take some effort. The skills you can learn in sales, like negotiation, persistence, building rapport, closing, and becoming an effective communicator — to name a few — can [also] be useful in your personal life. Understanding the sales process and how to build customer relationships is incredibly important, regardless of the career or industry you choose. The more intimidating or scary a position in sales may sound, the more you need to take one.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

Call (888) 732-6638 or Receive a Live Webinar



5 Minutes With … Actsoft Customer Experience

In our years of providing companies around the globe with digital solutions to help streamline processes, diminish inefficiencies, reduce waste, and save money, we’ve had the opportunity to get to know all sorts of customers. As great as it’s been getting to know everyone, we started to wonder: How much do our customers really know about us?

So we decided it was time to let you get to know us a little better. As part of our new series, “5 Minutes With …” we’ll be talking with members of the team from different departments around the company. In doing so, we hope to give you a little bit of insight into what it’s like behind the scenes at Actsoft … a glimpse behind the curtain, so to speak.

This week, we’ll be talking with Tyrell Seabrook. As a member of our Customer Experience team, Tyrell is one of the guys responsible for helping onboard new customers, getting them started with our software; helping them troubleshoot any questions they have along the way; and periodically phoning customers to make sure everything is okay.

What is your position with Actsoft?
Customer Advisor.

How long have you worked with the company?
Ten months.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Brooklyn, NY, and when I was about 8 years old I moved to the Bronx, NY. Growing up we traveled a lot so I have explored most of the Caribbean Islands, 25-plus states, and I lived in Europe during my senior year of college. I am also an Eagle Scout (not a card-carrying member) and hold a yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do. I have been working, since I was about 14, at various places: yogurt shop, aquarium, summer camp, gas station, and the cable company. Two fun facts: I still have a baby tooth and I am ambidextrous … found that out in college.

What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day for me is as follows: I brew and drink the strongest pot of coffee. [Then I] check my emails and calendar to see if we have launched any updates or if any customers need assistance. I write out my list of calls for the day and place any accounts that need help at the top. I begin by calling my customers by time zone, and then respond to emails that may have come in while I was on the phone. After my calls and emails are good, I do a little victory dance to celebrate that I love my job.

Describe a positive experience you’ve had on the CX floor. 
Every day is a positive experience because I work with one of the best teams in the building. My CX family is loud, crazy, and funny. In my short time here, I can honestly say that I have a family with such a diverse background, with big hearts.

What types of challenges do you face and how do you overcome them?
I would say time is one of my biggest challenges. Some days you come in and have a bunch of customers who would like some additional training. However, you may already have a set schedule for the day and may need to rearrange it to accommodate. Usually, I make a list of all my appointments and see if I have some open spots. After doing that, I call my customer and double check to see if they would still like to proceed [with training]. (Because anything can happen in a day.) Following any updates, I proceed to use time management to reach my goals and make sure people know that we really care about their business.

In what ways have you grown since starting with Actsoft?
When I first started here, I was so unconfident with my work. I was constantly nervous that I wasn’t going to learn the product or [that I would] mess up an account. Now, being with the company for almost a year, my confidence is through the roof. I really just want to thank my leadership for believing in me and letting me be my best self.

What advice would you give prospects looking to begin a career with Actsoft’s CX department?
It’s just like learning how to ride a bike: Training may be a little scary because you are just learning to balance the product knowledge and learning our ways, but with practice you’ll be up and riding in no time. We are such a family in this department, it’s so amazing. I [sometimes] ask myself, “What was I doing before Actsoft?” And I draw a blank because all I see are the good times here. So please, if you would love to join our “family,” come on in! The water is fine!

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

Call (888) 732-6638 or Receive a Live Webinar



Exploring Disney World’s Behind-the-Scenes Secrets

Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner, which means families everywhere will be firing up their grills to cook up feasts as they tip their hats in salute to all those who have served the country. This weekend also marks the unofficial start of the summer holiday travel season.

With the kids out of school and the weather universally warmer all over, it makes sense that more people — particularly families — hit the road this time of year. One of the most popular destinations in the country is none other than Orlando’s Disney World. Magic Kingdom alone hosts some 20 million visitors every single year, with the peak season being the weeks that fall between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

As you traverse the winding paths of the various parks that make up Disney World, imagine for a minute just how much goes into making your experience go off without a hitch. As they say, the devil is in the details; following are just a few of the lesser-known things Disney officials do in order to maintain all of the illusions put forth at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Cookies in the Air
Ever noticed how, no matter where you are in the Magic Kingdom, smells of fresh-baked cookies or popcorn are constantly assaulting your senses in the best way possible? That’s not exactly coming from the food shops scattered around the park. Instead, contraptions called Smellitzers actually pump these scents into the air, evoking a sense of childhood nostalgia in guests. (And they also probably, to an extent, help keep guests in line. Who’s gonna misbehave in grandma’s kitchen?)

Trashy, Trashy, Trashy
Fun fact: When planning the design for his parks, Walt Disney was such a perfectionist, he actually visited other parks to survey guest behavior. One thing he noticed? People will hold onto garbage for an average of 30 steps before dropping it on the ground. As such, you never have to walk more than 30 steps without finding a trash can. Speaking of waste, ever wonder where the detritus from all those daily thousands of visitors goes? Trash is whipped through pneumatic tubes at about 60 mph, transported to a designated location where it is sorted, and then shipped off to a landfill or recycling plant. Talk about efficient.

Keeping the Illusion
Under the parks are a series of utilidors (utility corridors) that are used, in part, to help keep the fantasy alive. The story is that, back in the day, Walt saw a cowboy cast member waltzing through Tomorrowland at the California park and it upset him. (What would a cowboy be doing in a futuristic landscape?) So when the much grander Florida park was being built, he ordered that a network of underground tunnels be built, so “off-duty” characters could get around the park without being spotted in the wrong section.

Book ‘em, Pluto
Unfortunately, even at the Happiest Place on Earth, shenanigans happen. But the last thing Disney officials want is to cause a scene and disturb more park guests than necessary. So when a guest is excessively out of hand, or discovered to be shoplifting, it’s said that security will enter quickly and discreetly escort the perpetrator through one of the many doors leading “backstage.” At that point, they’re kept in a holding room until police arrive, or they may simply be escorted out of the park altogether. Park bans may also result, the length of which is reflected by the severity of the infraction.

While Disney may officially be pretty tight-lipped about many of the secrets that transport guests to a fantasy world, it’s all to help maintain the illusion. All that work behind the scenes is for the benefit of their customers.

Similarly, the software we offer helps businesses complete their tasks by adding a deeper level of efficiency behind the scenes. Your customers don’t necessarily need to know every step you take in order to get from point A to point Z; what matters is that the experience of taking them from start to finish is as pleasant an experience, and with as few hiccups, as possible.

For example, our latest feature — Form Workflows — allows colleagues to collaborate on projects, with different people taking responsibility for various sub-tasks. This creates a seamless transition between workers, complete with the ability to reject tasks if not completed correctly.

With GPS Tracking, office managers can always keep tabs on, say, drivers on the road, so if customers are wondering when their serviceperson is expected to show up, it’s easy to pinpoint their location and give an estimate. Plus, as new jobs come up, the nearest technicians can be assigned, shortening the amount of time before they show up.

And by opting to get rid of paper forms in lieu of going digital, processes are sped up and information is collected much more accurately than when dealing with potentially illegible handwriting.

These are just a small sample of the ways our software can help smoothen out the everyday activities your company does. By making a few changes to your daily processes, you’ll quickly start to see big changes in productivity and efficiency. What’s more is that your customers will also start to notice these improvements, without needing to know any of the changes made to improve their experience with you.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

Call (888) 732-6638 or Receive a Live Webinar



HBO’s “Westworld” and Behind-the-Scenes Management

In late 2016, HBO fans were introduced to a fantasy world that reinvented the classic western, adding an element of science-fiction to the concept we’re all familiar with. “Westworld,” based on the 1973 film of the same name, is about an expansive, immersive theme park that caters to the elite. Those who are willing (and able) to shell out the hefty price of admission are treated to a cornucopia of possibility, where the only limit is their imagination.

On April 22, fans will once again be whisked away into this western reverie-cum-reality. The theme park, which spreads across enough land to encompass multiple towns, stretches of desert, and shows absolutely no sign of modern civilization, is sought after by people looking to lose themselves in an experience that allows them to leave their lives behind, if only for a little while.

Westworld is populated mostly by highly advanced animatronic “hosts,” who are so incredibly lifelike, it’s virtually impossible to distinguish them from flesh-and-blood human beings. The guests are treated to whatever western-themed outing they are looking for, be it an old-fashioned showdown with a bad guy or an afternoon of companionship at a saloon.

While the guests are allowed to lose themselves in the fantasy that Westworld is, behind the scenes is an entirely different matter. The scientists and technical experts responsible for creating the hosts also came up with a way to keep constant surveillance over the hosts. The puppet masters, so to speak, monitor the park at all times, assuring that robots are functioning properly, to the standard of patrons, and that any abnormalities are able to be addressed expediently and with as little interruption as possible, so as not to break the illusion.

In many ways, this front-end/back-end relationship we see here reflects the experience of using our software in your business’s day-to-day. When you have a staff that largely works in the field — the hosts, so to speak — you need a way to make sure they remain on task, regardless of who is or isn’t there to monitor in person. GPS Tracking gives managers back at the office the inside scoop on where their employees are at any given time. In other words, if they’re supposed to be with a customer at a certain time, you can make sure they’re on track for that appointment and, if there are any delays, customers can be notified.

Knowing where employees are also lets you choose wisely when tasking new job assignments. Reviewing the GPS coordinates, along with the open work orders for the day, managers can easily assign new projects to the person that makes the most sense, in order to maximize efficiency.

And making the switch to wireless forms over the wasteful use of piles of papers isn’t just a great choice for environment-minded folks. The clarity of forms filled out digitally, versus sheets filled out with illegible and/or smudgeable (not to mention, easy to misplace) script, guarantees a smoother processing once submitted to managers; this, in turn, reduces the chances of inputting misinformation on file, therefore minimizing the threat of customer disputes.

Much like in the fantasy world portrayed by “Westworld,” our solutions help to simplify an otherwise complicated undertaking, so the experience you are delivering to your customers runs as smoothly as possible. The processes remain on top of any potential hiccups, and the end result is a satisfied customer that is none the wiser about anything that happened behind the scenes.

Season 2 of Westworld returns April 22, 2018, on HBO.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

Call (888) 732-6638 or Receive a Live Webinar