A to Z Stamps and Coins is a small business venture run by Michael Ball and Cecilia Ball. The couple are passionate philatelists – stamp and coin collectors. Their philatelic zeal has helped them turn their passion into their profession and make a success out of it.
Like every small business owner though, this couple too faced some tough challenges, especially given the nature of their work. Here we list some of them:
- Time constraints: Michael and Cecilia are out on shows for a large part of the week. This left them with very little time to interact with customers and process their orders.
- Managing documents: Working with email and other electronic and paper based documents as part of business transactions. It was practically not possible for them to carry the large volumes of paper around as they traveled. But the document based tasks had still to be done. They realized that going paperless was the only option.
- Not having staff: Whether it is managing documents or their shows, this couple goes it alone. As theirs is a small business outfit and that too with an uncommon product offering, they could not have a full-fledged team to handle operations. This meant all the work had to be done by them – the work had to go with them, wherever they went. The only option for Michael was to have the documents in his laptop.
To digitize the documents, Michael tried using the software that came with his scanner as part of the package. But the experience proved to be frustrating. “That software had a lot of bugs. If the scanner got jammed, then you had to reboot the computer. The software would just shut down…it wasn’t stable,” recounts Michael. To make things worse, the software did a poor job of extracting text from image files using OCR (OCR enables full text search in an image – searching for an image based on its text content).
After having a bad user experience with this software (a competing product), Michael conducted a search on the Internet to see if he could find a good document management solution. One of the solutions he came across was Sohodox. Michael navigated the Sohodox web site and soon realized that this was just the software he needed. He was so convinced about Sohodox that he didn’t even feel the need to evaluate the software. He just went ahead and purchased it online!
When you have had a bad experience with technology and you switch to a different product, the first thing you want to check is whether the issues with your previous solution are resolved or not. The philatelist couple was relieved to find out that Sohodox resolved the issues they had with the previous solution. When their scanner got jammed, unlike their old product, Sohodox did not shut down. In fact, they tried Sohodox with four different scanners – and it worked with all of them!
Michael was happy with the working of OCR in Sohodox. He also liked the ability to switch the file type to which you wanted to scan the document in the scan window.
A very important trait any software application should possess is to have intuitive features. You must know what the most likely ways the user will use a particular feature are and then add those capabilities. Michael found this trait in Sohodox in the form of preset document types. Sohodox ships with document types like Invoices, Checks, Agreements etc. With each document type, you can store indexing information. You can create document types of your own too in Sohodox and add custom indexing fields to each of them as required. Finding files is a snap for Michael. “Using Sohodox takes a small amount of time to scan the documents but saves a lot of time later when searching for them,” he said.
One of the most important traits of a software solution is the kind of after-sales support that you offer your customers. When asked how his interactions were with our Support team, all Michael said was “Never needed!” The product delivered what it promised to. Never once has the philatelist couple had to contact technical support with any query or problem!
Now Michael happily carries his documents around with him on his shows. No more does he find a pile of purchase orders and other mail greeting him when he returns home from his tours!
About A to Z Stamps and Coins
A to Z Stamps and Coins is a venture managed by Michael Ball and his wife Cecilia Ball. They have been buying and selling stamps since 1984. You can learn more about their business at the A to Z Stamps and Coins web site.