Title: Why You Want to Attend Your Software User Meeting

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Software user meetings are designed to educate users and provide a way to provide feedback for development and future improvements. The benefits in the long run outweigh the need to set aside time for these meetings.

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Article Body:
You just received an invite from your software company for the ?Annual Client Software User Meeting?. Which of the following will you do?

  • Jump for joy and immediately begin making arrangements to attend! You have been waiting for this great opportunity all year long and the excitement generated can hardly be contained!
  • Put the invitation aside. If you have nothing better to do you may go, or you may send someone else from your company that might benefit.
  • Toss it into the ?circular file? without opening it. ?Those things are a complete waste of time?. What could you possibly gain by attending? You throw it out every year.

There are many different perspectives when it comes to a client software user meeting. Some viewpoints are based upon favorable or non-favorable experiences at past meetings. Others are opinions based upon how ?the individual thinks the meeting will be?. Last, you have a group that doesn?t think there is any value in going to a ?software meeting? because they are not ?technical people?.

Why do people go to these meetings anyway? What is the profile of these ?user meeting attendees?? Are they a ?technical bunch? that enjoys talking about ?software stuff?? Who really can benefit from a software client user meeting?

To find out answers to all of the above, it?s best to attend the next software client user meeting that you are invited to. Each software firm runs its own meeting and has its own style and focus for a user meeting. The common thread is that all software firms run these meetings in order to educate the users of their software. What varies is the style in which the education takes place.

The meeting agenda should provide you with good insight as to what to expect. Typically, software firms gear these meetings at owners/managers of their client companies. The goal is to educate the ?top brass? so that appropriate decisions can be made at the top relating to the software used. This also means that the sessions will not be as technical as you might expect.

The goal of every software firm is to produce software that the users will benefit by using long-term. A software solution purchased today can quickly become irrelevant tomorrow. The world changes and software must change too. In order to service the needs of the client, it is important the software firm have some dialogue with its clients. This is important throughout the year, but can be especially meaningful at a client user meeting. A client user meeting takes people away from their busy day to day activities, and allows for thought and discussion amongst people who have a common goal.

Though no one really has time for these meetings, it is an investment that the client and the software firm will make. It has been proven that clients that take advantage of the opportunity, always do better with the software.

Your typical client user meeting will offer a blend of a few of the following components:

  • new product introduction
  • existing product enhancements
  • education on how to use current products
  • speakers offering insight on general business issues such as marketing, industry topics of interest, and management/financial
  • roundtable discussions among users
  • workshops
  • food and good company.

?Hobnobbing? with other folk who use the same software can be extremely valuable. Information sharing, networking and building relationships with others users can offer great insight and improve the way you work with the software.

A software user meeting allows you to work with the software firm at a different level. You?re giving advice and in a sense becoming part of the development team. This allows you to protect your investment by getting more of what you need and want. Your industry changes and you have to explain to the software firm what you want so that they can give it to you in the form of new products and enhancements.

Most meetings offer learning sessions to improve your use of the features that you have. Users walk away from meetings almost in disbelief that they have some wonderful features that they didn?t realize they had. More than likely it was covered in training, but with so much to absorb, who can remember all of the tools and whistles and bells that are built into a comprehensive and extensive software suite.

It?s a great opportunity to meet the voice over the phone that services you. It?s also exciting to be one of the first to see new enhancements that will soon be released. It?s possible you will have learned about some dynamic new ways that your firm can be using the software to increase sales and marketing, service clients and employees better or expand your business. People always walk away from a client meeting richer than when they came.

So, the next time you receive an invitation to a client software user meeting, what are you going to do with it?

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