Brandon Oliveri-O’Connor, director of EMEA at Procore, discusses why contractors should prioritise customer experience for project success
Now, more than ever, it’s vital for contracting businesses to deliver great customer experience. The tendering environment is more competitive than ever and every project that can be won through repeat business is one that doesn’t have to go to a competitive tender.
Contractors can set themselves up for success by offering immediacy and transparency to their customers. Clients are demanding a more collaborative approach to their projects and an end to the “black box” nature of construction.
One of the challenges to achieving this is the historically fragmented nature of construction – subcontractors report to main contractors and critical project information is typically spread across multiple siloed and disconnected solutions. This, in turn, makes it difficult for contractors to offer a single view of a project’s status to their customers.
A platform approach to customer experience
With customers demanding ever-faster close out times and clients increasingly demanding more granular insight into project status, many contractors are re-evaluating their relationship with technology solutions.
Historically, the construction industry has not been well-served by technology, with contractors forced to juggle multiple competing and overlapping solutions, which each promise to solve a piece of the puzzle.
Today, however, a new breed of platform solutions is arriving on the market. These solutions solve this by providing construction professionals with a comprehensive, yet easy-to-use platform together with industry-leading customer service.
By doing this, they are able to connect everyone on the project team with all of the information they need to get the job done on time, under budget, with quality and with pride. Critically, they also connect the customer to the job too, so they have a live view of the latest project status.
Transparency is key
By implementing platforms, construction businesses can also improve communication across the team from the field to the office, reducing rework and safety risks, and ensuring that decisions are always being made from the most complete available data.
The most advanced solutions on the market also offer an Open API with a full set of integrated partner apps that provide fast time to value, helping businesses achieve complete visibility of performance across every project.
The benefits of platform technology in delivering a superior customer experience have been particularly apparent during the Covid-19 pandemic. Hertfordshire-based Pexhurst, a fit-out and refurbishment contractor, used platform technology to provide project visibility for clients unable to do site visits. Through a single platform, they have been able to see live photo updates from across their sites and hold integrated Zoom meetings with the relevant stakeholders.
Achieving better outcomes for customers
With client sophistication and client expectations increasing like never before, it’s vital for contractors to use any opportunity available to them to get ahead. As the industry continues to evolve and standardise on connected technology platforms, what got businesses to where they were will no longer be enough going forward.
Businesses who invest in a platform approach are likely to see the benefits for years to come. According to McKinsey & Co, construction is seeing a “clear shift toward the development and launch of integrated platforms rather than point solutions”.
It defines platforms as: “Technologies that enable visibility into management of business or operations processes through native capabilities and seamless integration with other technologies to aggregate data and process control in a single place.”
There is a “compelling economic logic for platforms”, McKinsey says, believing “the most likely outcome will be the continued growth of multiple, interconnected platforms in the future”.
By creating standardised processes then aggregating and comparing data across projects, project managers are able to identify and track leading indicators of issues that might escalate and to “nip them in the bud” before they become a customer issue. Dashboards with Red Amber Green (RAG) reporting features provide high level visibility, while users can also drill into the underlying data to get detailed insights into the root causes of problems.
By cutting downtime and delays, businesses can take on more business and deliver those projects at better margins, while reassuring their customers about their capacity to maintain effective project management, quality and safety performance, etc. This also translates into a sustainable competitive advantage and can build better, more resilient supply chain relationships.
Director of EMEA
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LinkedIn: Procore Technologies