Putting the customer at the forefront of what we do as a construction project management software company
Here at Builderstorm, customer service is a key part of our business. We believe customer service should feel more like a customer experience – we want our clients to know we are here to help and that there is a clear defined route and feedback to aid this process.
Unless your company has a stranglehold on your market, I think it can be agreed that in order to have a truly successful business, you need to have more than just a great product or service – good customer service is an integral part of any successful business.
So, what are the basics?
1) Don’t Make Your Customers Wait
“Speed won’t compensate for a cold, tasteless sandwich or for rude and incompetent service.” This was feedback from a customer following some research carried out by William J McEwen. He looked into whether fast service was really what customers wanted. He monitored the promise of ‘customers will receive their fresh sandwich within 3 minutes’. During his research he saw that all sandwiches were presented in under 3 minutes, but over 60% were returned as they were not what the customer actually ordered and a further 10% complained that they didn’t think staff listened to them properly.
Although Builderstorm is a construction project management software company, we can take a valuable lesson from the type of business model shown in this study. We believe that it is about giving the customer not only a timely response on matters but, where possible, a solution or an expectation of how this will be resolved.
We make sure that our customer service doesn’t leave a bad taste in our customers’ mouths. We ensure the first-contact resolution becomes a priority. There is nothing customers appreciate more than getting helpful advice the first time they make contact with us.
We empower your staff by giving exceptional training on our systems and client troubleshooting tips, meaning that they have the authority to resolve problems on their own with very little need to ever escalate. We also take file ownership of a problem from start to finish so our client has consistency in their experience with us.
Our team aims to be crystal clear with our customers, on both the software and their journey with us. We provide a clear menu of options on the sale of contract, which defines the software capabilities and functions. This allows our client to align their internal processes with the software prior to the roll out. For the life of the contract with Builderstorm, we offer online help where the customer can navigate around the site with prompts and reminders, should they get stuck on what to do. We believe that our customers should always feel as though they know where they stand with us.
3) Having the right customer tools
We have an internal system which monitors all customers’ calls and emails so we can monitor trends and continually improve on what we do. Our internal processes support the quick but correct resolution theory. Great customer service should always be available, even when you aren’t. Self-service options are also a key to supporting our customers, as well as them knowing they can also email and call. We like to encourage our clients to become able to troubleshoot with the tools we provide to them.
4) Taking a whole company approach
When everyone in the company is involved in customer service, it changes the dynamic significantly. Knowledge of issues, bugs and features is much more widespread throughout the team. Why is that beneficial? Because everyone should be on the customer’s journey.
Especially with our developers, there’s a common question that arises when the entire company is encouraged to be involved in customer service. Shouldn’t developers be writing code, shipping new features and fixing bugs? After all, they’re an expensive resource and their time is much better spent improving the product rather than talking to customers, right? But how will developers know best what kinds of problems their code solves and creates? The same is true for development of new features. While our product wireframes that are handed down by management are useful tools, asking our customers directly ‘what can we do to improve?’ is far more powerful in determining new features to best support the industry.
We collate development ideas internally from our clients and when we do develop new features, we take what our users/customers feed back into consideration. We communicate internally about how system changes might impact our customer experience so our developers always have our customers in mind.
So, to summarise Customer service, it can either be nothing or it can be the dynamic aspect of your entire business. By engaging with our customers and helping them get the most out of your product, you will give them a reason to tell others why they love your company. At Builderstorm, we believe this is the key to success and we strive to be the very best in what we do for the customer experience.
Get your whole team involved in customer service. Every single person in the business is accountable for that customer.
By Louise Oldfield.