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Shawna MesherFeb 7, 2024 1:11:17 PM22 min read

What to expect when changing software

Thinking about changing your business software this year?
Curious what to expect during the onboarding process with LOU?

Hear from Allie from Spa Depot of Utah about what her experience was like going LIVE on LOU.

  • What’s the onboarding process like?
  • What's the best way to train yourself and your employees?
  • What's an onsite visit and is it worth it?
  • How do you prepare to shift software? 

Watch last months webinar to find out how to Manage Bulk Inventory Purchases!

Want more LOU? Join one of our upcoming webinars or request a demo.

Video Transcript
Shawna: Good morning, everybody, and welcome to today's webinar. We are sitting in the Evosus headquarters here in Vancouver, Washington. My name is Shawna Messer. I'm the Director of Sales and Marketing, and to my right is Franchesca Hester, Director of Client Success.

Francesca: Hello, everyone.

Shawna: We also have a very, very special guest on the call with us this morning. We're so excited about this. This is Allie Call, the GM of Spa Depot of Utah. Welcome, Allie.

Allie: Hey, thank you so much. Good morning.

Shawna: Good morning. Good morning on the West Coast and good afternoon on the East Coast. We are excited about the conversation we're going to have today. Allie, you guys recently went live on LOU eight weeks ago today, right? It's your eight-week anniversary. Congratulations!

Francesca: LOU Birthday! LOU Birthday!

Allie: Thank you, guys.

Shawna: We’re just excited to chat with you today about your onboarding process, what the experience was like. Our team came out there to your home, your showroom, and kind of walked you through some things. So, I think it's going to be a fun-filled conversation today. Let's just jump right in if that's cool with you.

Allie: Absolutely.

Shawna: Cool, awesome. We know, Allie, that the hot tub industry as a whole is pretty generational. A lot of the hot tub companies that we all know of were kind of created and the life of the business has been owned by one person, one owner. There's not a great successor plan, if you will, in the industry. You are in a really cool position where you're taking over your family business. By the way, congratulations; you're doing an incredible job. I'm sure that led you to looking at ways to streamline, to grow, to kind of think about things differently than the way they've always been done. Not that that's a bad thing at all. These owners of generational businesses, everything's in their heads. Franchesca and I were chatting the other day, and you’re Italian, right?

Francesca: Yes, a blessing and a curse. Let's be real.

Shawna: We were chatting about recipes, right? With these old recipes that just go back generations, it's like you ask them for the recipe card and they're like, "No, no, honey, I just make the stuff." But that doesn't work for us. That doesn't work for us as we're trying to take over and rebuild that recipe or take over that business because we need to know where everything's at. We can't go to them and ask them all the questions. So, exactly all of that to say, you're here on LOU because of that. You wanted to have everything in one place, have visibility to everything, while also being really respectful of your parents and making sure they have clear visibility as well as the transition happens.

Francesca: Their legacy lives on. It is a legacy, and what you're doing—passing on the torch to you—is super exciting. I think we're just so excited to be a part of that too. Absolutely got to start writing down Grandma's recipes as she's cooking, right? It's like the same thing. Get your business binder out and start writing them down.

Shawna: Yep, get all the processes somewhere everybody else can follow. I love it. Walk us through, Allie, just 30,000-foot view. How was your onboarding experience? What was it like to go on to LOU?

Allie: You know, there are definitely challenges with being able to have you guys and your team come on site and do everything. The prep work behind it was just phenomenal. Without that, the transition wouldn't have been nearly as smooth, or we wouldn't have been able to set it up properly. That was awesome.

Shawna: That's great. Just a note for everybody watching, you know, Allie said we came on site and that was helpful. At Evosus, it's helpful for you all to know we have two types of consulting. We have what you all would imagine is software training, software consulting, where we can either be virtual or come out to your business. We can get you up and running on the software. If you're already running on the software, we can teach you how to use the features in depth. We can walk you through the ins and outs of the software with Evosus Pros. Then we have a secondary option, which is business consulting. Business consulting is a bit different. It consists of people within these four walls of Evosus who have some decades of industry experience coming out to your business to walk you through best practices, taking a look at how you do things now, helping come up with new options, better ways to do things. A lot of the business consulting also is, here's a process and then, oh by the way, LOU would help you achieve this process, like recurring orders. How do we actually maximize those sorts of things?

Francesca: How do we get LOU to work hard for you and not the other way around?

Shawna: For sure. Yeah, we say that all the time. For all of you guys watching and present on this webinar today, Allie’s team at Spa Depot opted for both. She had a total of seven days, a lot of our team, five or six people, total on site in their business, including Franchesca from the business consulting side of things who did a lot of sales training.

Francesca: Ops.

Shawna: Yeah, oh my gosh, all of it. We're going to talk a bit about that today. Just so you guys know as we talk, those are the two options that we have. With all of that being said, Allie, tell us about your onsite experience. Walk us through the team shows up, guns blazing, they're like, "We're ready to go. Let's get you live." How did your team take all of it? Were people receptive? How did the week go?

Allie: I can't say enough about my team as far as being receptive to working and learning with your team. We kind of created a family in that week, honestly. We were driving up from Salt Lake one night after everybody at LOU had left, and it was like, "Oh, they're gone." It really did become like a family kind of experience, really great teamwork with everybody that was here. We were able to say, "Alright, this department's working with Franchesca, this department's working with Steve," those kinds of things, and really get everything up and running. Then we had Evan and Emily as well that could help kick in and do some of the setup work that we didn’t maybe know we needed or hadn’t had time to get through. It was just great, really, really helpful.

Shawna: That's so insightful. You painted a picture of Franchesca and Steve doing some business consulting with your team, teaching best practices, and then we had Evan and Emily, Evosus Pros, helping you with the setup and the product. Had there not been people with industry experience on site, would the experience have been the same or different? What were your thoughts?

Allie: As we were all going through this, moving through this, and where we're coming to a transition at some point with taking over that legacy, the industry knowledge and things that were brought—this is my first time through this. I've never owned a business. I'm 30 years old, and this industry really is something where we can benefit from learning from somebody who has been involved in it. Such a legend in the industry as well—it's really immeasurable, that knowledge coming in. It was so helpful and beneficial for me and for us, for our team.

Francesca: From our perspective, that was so special about you guys as a client. I do consider you guys family. You’re just in our circle now. You guys gave so much flexibility, you were so open to saying, "Our processes are old, they’re from our family, these were our parents, they built this from the ground up," and with your willingness and open-mindedness to say, "What would you guys suggest? What would be the best process to do this specific thing in LOU?" That's where the magic for us happened too because it’s such a partnership. Being able to have you guys so receptive to being like, "Yeah, we’re open, whatever works, we are willing to change, it is new software," and realizing that maybe some of your old processes weren't going to serve you well in the new program. I just want to say thank you because that is what made this partnership so special and why we felt like it was really successful. Just hearing your feedback too shows us that together we can do so much better than apart. So, thank you, Allie, because it’s been a great experience.

Shawna: To add to that, something I didn’t realize until recently is the fact that in the hot tub industry, hearth industry, billiards, any of these specialty retailers that we serve at Evosus, you guys only have a small visibility to other companies. There aren’t a lot of companies that allow you to come in and get a look behind the glass unless you're part of these kind of VIP groups. At Evosus, we have visibility to 600 companies. We see the ins and outs of how tons of companies operate and run. We know these are the companies that are successful, and they have all of these similarities, they all follow kind of this best practice. We can bring that into other companies and help. We’ve seen people make mistakes and we don’t want others to make those same mistakes. It’s really powerful that we can share a lot of insight with you guys.

Francesca: And vice versa, like we learned so much from being on-site as well because I believe that our product, right, is only as good as it serves our clients. So being able to see it in a live showroom, to be on-site with you guys, to see the challenges that you're going to face... Listen, it's software; stuff happens, right? But you know, again, you guys were so willing to just work with us. All we want is to be helpful. That's why I think the consulting is just a great way to be able to do that. It's a great solution, so yeah, that's awesome.

Shawna: I do have a kind of one-off, weird question for you—something nobody ever wants to talk about: money.

Francesca: I'm leaving.

Shawna: I'll put it all out on the table; that's just me. But I'm curious, when you guys got the quote for consulting, it wasn't a tiny number. What was your initial reaction? Did you have to get buy-in? Was it just like a "yes, here's the check"? How did that go?

Allie: Yeah, you know, an interesting process where I was kind of the driving force behind, "Hey, we need to change. We need to get onto a different program that's scalable. We're maxed out where we are. We can't grow with this. We can't do anything." So I was kind of working back and forth to grab that quote and had to pitch it to my parents or the owners and say, "Hey, I think this is a really great investment. You can't see it as just a purchase. This isn't a one-and-done kind of thing." We'd worked together for so long before that to get to that on-site quote. But really going at it, it's not a little number, but the value that you get for that or that we got for that was immeasurable. I mean, it really helped change so much. And then the business consulting on top of it, you know, that's huge. Knowing that we can reach out and say, "Hey, we're having an issue with this," and it's not just going into an inbox where you get, "Okay, your ticket's been created, we'll get back to you." No, that's not at all how it goes. It's been really neat to get a live answer when we need it and also to be able to go back and say, "Hey, I know we talked about this, but I don't get this. Can we walk back through it?" Having somebody willing and kind to take the time and help us get to where we need to be has been phenomenal. So yeah, it's a big number, but it's a massive investment into your company and into your future. I truly believe that.

Shawna: That's so well said. That's awesome. What a testament. Thanks, Allie. And you kind of touched on it, but I'm just curious: the support after the fact, right? The onboarding experience was like five weeks, then they came on-site for a week. Do you feel supported after the fact? Do you feel like you have the right people to go to? What's that been like?

Allie: 100%. Again, not only for the software knowledge but even industry knowledge and that business support on both sides. Any question that any one of my team has come up with, we've worked together in a timely fashion, usually within less than a day, to find either a solution or the training if it wasn't on LOU support. That support is so huge and it is there after the fact. It's not, "Alright, now there's this investment paid and we're done." It's continued support.

Francesca: I'm ready to get on a plane again. Are you ready to—

Shawna: In the summer, when there's not 10 feet of snow on the ground, yeah.

Francesca: Yeah. Also, Allie, you have to give yourself and your team a ton of credit too because, even though, yes, we want to support you after the fact and we want to do all of that, you guys dive so deep into things as well, even prior to reaching out sometimes. You're like, "We've tried this, we've done that, we've done this." Again, just thank you because the more information you can give us and the more you tell us, the more we can be helpful. Your team is always right there, diving into it, looking into it, and we love that because it pushes us to be better too. That's what we want.

Shawna: Yeah, we're like, "Whoa, nobody's ever done it that way before. That's so interesting. Let's figure that out." As LOU grows up and scales and grows, and we get these very large companies like yourself on LOU, we're learning all the time. So that's really cool. Last question that I have for you, if you could give one tip to somebody coming live on LOU, what would it be?

Allie: Oh gosh. You know, be prepared to grow with the program. We were talking about cooking and recipes and that real tribal knowledge that comes from specifically this industry, but there hasn't ever been really a written practice or procedure for this. You're going to have to make those decisions and changes, and they are so good. That's the best thing. Look forward to that, but evaluate your practices beforehand and say, "Alright, that's not as efficient as it could be. Let's see if we can find a way to work with this program to maximize that." That's probably my best piece of advice: be willing to grow. If you're not willing to grow or change, you're not going to be able to grow in general. That's part of growing with this program as well. New releases come out, new things happen, and it's a really cool thing to be a part of. Don't feel like you have to jump into every part of the software right off the bat. I can tell you that we haven't. Keeping things simple has been really beneficial. Now that we're two months in as of today, we're starting to break down kits a little bit more, break down some of the mobile functionality a little bit more, and dive into that. I think Steve and Francesca kind of said it best when you guys were here: "We know what we do, and we do it well. We've had systems in place for a long time. Let's get this up and running, and then be integrating more of the software into our practices as we become familiar with it. Don't overwhelm yourself."

Francesca: That's such a great point because onboarding should be in phases. It's not like, Okay, yes, we use the term 'you're live,' but that doesn't necessarily mean you're live. You built it in phases; you listened and kept it simple. It's nice to get your infrastructure stable and everyone executing on the same level and then say, "Okay, yeah, we're ready to look at that next feature. We're ready to build that out." It was gracious on your part to just say, "We don't have to do it all at once. It doesn't all have to work today. We just need a good basic foundation to build off of." So two months later, it's really cool to hear that you've done that and are now starting to implement and use the software a bit more, which is exactly how it should be.

Shawna: It is. It's like anything else in life. I use analogies for everything because it just works in my head. It's like when you try to change your life to non-toxic, if you will. You're not going to throw away all your Tupperware, all of your plates, your whole cabinet, your whole refrigerator, and buy all new. That's not realistic; that's never going to work unless you're a millionaire and can afford to do that. But it's the same thing with LOU. Let's start with the most important thing right now and then identify, "This would be a real game-changer. Let's implement this next and layer on." In a year, you probably are using the entire program more than anybody can imagine. There was less resistance; people were really excited to jump on board because you weren't changing their entire job and expecting them to be perfect at it the next day. So it's really smart.

Allie: Definitely. Another thing I'd probably add to that is to choose a couple of people who are going to be your experts in this program. Have them really integrated into the setup and functionality behind this. When we were on Legacy, we had one person who was really the guru of everything there. When that person left our company, everybody was kind of like, "Whoa, wait, we don't know what we're doing." So we had to retrain somebody, and not for the turnover fact but for people to be able to ask multiple different people. People retain different information, and people are able to find things differently. Being able to go back and play in the sandbox company or the fake company that's there, where we can go, "Alright, what is this change actually going to do?" That was kind of where my team was able to dig into things a little bit deeper. They're very resourceful. I never thought that I'd be kind of like an expert in our software by any means, and it's really neat to know that I can answer most questions that come to me just from the support, training, and experience here. So thank you guys very much.

Shawna: So empowering.

Francesca: Yeah, that's great. Yeah, to have the champion, and it's so nice that you were willing to put in that work. I mean, we know it's not easy. We know there's a lot to learn, and we know that there are roadblocks. We're not going to sit here and say we're perfect—far from it. But again, it's that partnership, that willingness to work together, that was so magical. And being in your showroom, which is absolutely stunning—you guys are so cutting edge. I mean, just look behind you, right? I've been in a lot of hot tub stores over the years, and you guys took the experience of selling hot tubs to the next level. You can bring your clients back there, they can soak, and it's just so beautiful. It just shows—it's a testament to you guys—that you want to grow, you want to be better, you want to prove it. And that just aligns so well with us. And again, it's just been such a phenomenal partnership. We just can't thank you enough.

Shawna: Yeah, before we kind of—

Allie: Thank you, yeah.

Shawna: I love it. Before we wrap things up, we do have Kim on the line as a panelist. Do we have any questions?

Kim: You might have alluded to this a little bit already, but Allie, was there anything you felt like you needed to do prior to the consulting team coming on-site to prepare for that?

Allie: Yeah, so, when you go to set up with LOU, you get all the different modules. I'm probably not going to use the right terms here, but when you go through this setup—not a software person, I'm a hot tub person, right? Anyway, when you go through that process, you have that kind of weekly onboarding meeting with your account specialists and everything, where you can go through and ask different questions on how to set things up. Making sure that you have just as much as possible done through those things. We had questions; it's our first time through this, and especially jumping on the accounting side as well. Going through those things and knowing exactly what your questions are beforehand before having everybody come on-site, I think, is probably one of the most beneficial things. And then before they came on-site, we did have a meeting of, "Okay, what are the things that we really need help with as far as setup goes? What are the things that you have questions on as far as setting up and training and the processes behind it?" Just knowing your company and where you stand with your processes and knowing that things are going to need to change but not being afraid of that—I think those are the three key things that I'd really recommend to anybody looking to transfer over. And again, the support is just phenomenal behind that of, "Hey, we can do that this way, we can do that this way. What's your process? Let's figure out a way that this can work for you," or vice versa. It was really cool. But knowing those things through and through is really important.

Shawna: That's so great.

Kim: Great answer. Thank you.

Allie: Yeah, absolutely.

Shawna: That's awesome. Well, I think we've covered a lot. We really appreciate you, Allie, taking the time out of your day to chat with us again, being receptive to our feedback and our suggestions, and really just entrusting your company with LOU. It means a lot. We know that it's a really big decision—a big decision to change software and put your entire company on one platform. So we just appreciate you and your company so much.

Francesca: And trusting us, and trusting us, and trusting us through the process. I mean, that's huge. And keep pushing us, keep calling us, keep—I love getting your texts—push us to be better. We want to be better for you. And that's so cool too about the LOU platform: it is cloud-based, right? So we can make things better faster than we could in the past. Fast is never fast enough, but we're always working on it. So keep the questions flowing. We want to support you forever. We're a family, and you're part of our family. So thank you so much.

Allie: We feel the same. And if there's anything that I can do to help anybody on your side, please let us know. We're happy.

Francesca: Send me a hot tub.

Allie: Perfect, yes.

Shawna: You have one; you're fine. Oh god. Well, yes, thank you so much, Allie. Again, for everybody watching, if you're interested or have questions, want an estimate on consulting—whether you're on—this goes for our LOU clients, our Legacy clients, and anybody interested in going live on LOU, just shoot us a message on our "Contact Us" page. Fill out the form, we'll reach right out to you, and we'll get you connected with probably myself or Francesca to get that conversation started. Again, thank you, Allie, so much, and we will see everybody on next month's webinar. Thank you.

Allie: Thanks.

Shawna: See you.