With a large section of their Penticton office given over to customer service and support centres around the world, there is little doubt that Windward Software takes customer care seriously.
And with the addition of Windward TV, the local software company is taking communicating with their customer base, both current and potential, to a new level.
“Video, as a medium, is a great method of communicating a broad idea set quickly,” said Kevin Schilter, company spokesman and host of Windward TV.
The aim of the episodes, he continued, is to aid their customers by imparting knowledge or best practices that they have gained through years of helping customers. “Often our customers are small entrepreneurs, working in their business too. The road of an entrepreneur is ripe with organic learning.”
Windward Software produces a suite of software for the retail and customer services sector with related tools for inventory control, point of sale, invoicing, and accounting systems.
It got started back in 1984, when CEO Dennis Jacobsen, then a civil engineer living in Fort St. John, was laid off and needed to create something new for himself to do.
“Part of the birth of Windward Software is sitting up in the Northern B.C. climate and thinking where would be a nice place to be,” explained Schilter. The company draws its name from the Windward Island chain, a theme that is reflected throughout the Penticton offices, with bright tropical colours and boardrooms named for the various islands: Martinique, St. Vincent, etc.
From Penticton, the company has gone global, with customers in 30 countries around the world and home in Penticton.
Windward TV is much more recent, an idea less than a year old and inspired by the accesibility of modern videomaking equipment and ways to distribute the result.
“Dennis Jacobsen, our CEO, had seen some other videos that were on the net in regard to imparting sales knowledge,” said Schilter. “That got him thinking how can we do this to help our customers.”
It’s also, Schilter continued, a way of living up to the company’s tagline: ‘We help you run your business instead of just reporting on it.’
It’s more than just the software in the box is a phrase that Schilter keeps returning to. It’s something he said really informs how he sets up the episodes, all of which feature interviews with experts drawn from the company ranks.
“I really do think about the things we are going to do to sell the episode, tips and tricks and advice,” he said. “The intent is not to just be talking about our product, but also to give them ideas,” said Schilter. “I want to drip advice that a business owner could go employ without our software.”
The Windward TV set is inexpensive, just a couple of chairs and a large monitor set on a stage in their studio, which shows every sign of having been converted from a storeroom.
But humble studio or not, Schilter said Windward TV is having an impact, showing the accessibility of the medium as a sales tool.
“At the end of the day, that’s an example of even what our customers can do,” he said.
“We are past 10 episodes now gaining some traction. Traction, to us, is people actually watching it and forwarding it; that’s how we are measuring it,” said Schilter. “If we can create compelling enough content for someone to share that with another or consume it themselves, then that is success.”
Episodes of Windward TV are available through their website at windwardsoftware.com/tv or by searching for Windward TV on YouTube.