4 Customer Support
& Product Updates
Agriculture has always been relationship-based. Farmers should demand no less when it comes to digital ag customer support and product updates, which are essentially an extension of good customer support.
Waiting several days for a ‘trouble report’ response or dealing with an automated “chat box” when you have a glitch in the middle of harvest won’t cut it for farmers.
The best FMS customer service experiences are an assigned individual to your farm. But, that person shouldn’t be just a software expert, they should have a background in farming as well.
Quick response times are crucial, as well as understanding the demands on a farmer’s time (aka don’t bother them with a new product offering in the middle of harvest!). A good customer service rep will end up as integral to a farm operational team as the farm accountant or lawyer, their agronomist or their grain merchandiser. Yet, the level of customer support is highly variable between FMS platforms.
Product updates are critical to keeping a FMS product relevant. A platform without a robust calendar of updates can be an indication of a digital ag company struggling with cash flow and their own growth. Yet frequent product updates, handled poorly and without good educational support, can be just as much potential trouble as not getting them at all.
Product updates should be tailored to be not intrusive to the farmer. A farmer’s customer service rep should know what updates are most relevant to their operations and be able to provide education and support on learning the new function. And certainly a FMS platform should have strict testing protocol for new products, nothing is worse than an update that causes unforeseen glitches.
It’s an exciting time in digital ag. It will only continue to get better.
Farmers are starting to understand what going digital can do for them and FMS platforms are working hard to deliver on their promises. Those platforms that can’t keep up with the latest tech and fail to understand the basic needs of farmers will fall by the wayside. The ones that deliver and understand their customer base will become essential tools.
I hope this review can give farmers some points to consider, questions to ask and a strategy for evaluating which FMS platform is the right fit for their farm operations and their farm needs.
Remember, digital ag should work for the farmer and their farm team, not the other way around.