I'm hugely impressed by the support and loyalty coming from the Zerve community over the weekend. As I commented on this article by Tnooz, Zerve earned their loyal and passionate customer base through the hard way, with years of awesome customer support. As more and more competitors arrived, Zerve always operated with a high level of integrity and professionalism towards their competitors (including us).
Zerve was unique, and if you have been with them for a long time, you have slowly developed business processes around their features and solutions. You doubled down on their strengths and hacked around the places they were weak.
My one advice to those of you looking for alternatives is this: there is no supplier out there that is going to be able to do exactly what Zerve did as well as Zerve did it for your business.
It is going to be painful, and any of us who are promising we can do for you exactly what Zerve did are lying. The truth is: we can't.
We are not Zerve.
We solved some of the challenges differently, from a different angle, have different pricing, and put priority on different stages of the customer buying cycle.
It is going to be a short and painful process, but the good news is that there are a lot of solutions out there that have an awesome product. You should be able to get up and running again in a very short time. However, bear in mind that you will probably need to make some adjustments to some of your business processes.
My advice to tour and activity businesses:
- Start with a list of the key features Zerve had that were critical to the success of your business.
- Consider not just how the feature worked, but also what results it delivered you.
- Ask yourself, "have I built up a process in my business around "how" Zerve solved this or based on the result they delivered?"
- Consider how much effort and pain is required to adjust your internal processes.
- Now take your list of not more than 2-3 key features you absolutely need and go find the solution that does that the best for you.
- For the rest, be flexible, be willing to change how you operate, and make sure whoever you choose has customer support available to you NOW to help you get the most out of it.
With the frenzy that is going on right now amongst all the software companies who want your business, remember that you have power, and you can use it. The most valuable thing you can leverage out of them in a deal is more support to help with the transition.
Zerve was awesome, but there are other awesome solutions out there too. If you are willing to make some changes you might even come out ahead in a few weeks. Good luck during your transition, I am confident you will get all the support you need.
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Written by Jon Fauver
Jon is CEO and Co-founder of TrekkSoft. He is also Co-founder of Outdoor Interlaken AG and Co-owner of Bus2Alps, Europe's leading student travel provider. Before this, Jon was a trip leader for Equator Expeditions.