Some software is painfully similar. While clicking around the site, some software looks easy and intuitive. But after purchasing the product, everything goes wrong; it’s painfully difficult to use or has unavoidable glitches. Whether the problem is on the user or software developer’s end, it falls on the construction software’s customer service team to make things right.
Unfortunately, the helpfulness of a construction software’s customer service is not always as good as we’d like it to be—that’s why you should take the time to evaluate it before purchasing. Here are five ways to do that.
Ask about their service policy
Some companies have dedicated customer service policies that are easy to find on their website. For example, BuilderTrend has an entire page dedicated to their support system. They make it clear that customer service and training comes at no additional cost and that representatives are available seven days a week.
Because BuilderTrend has a page dedicated to service, they are showing that customer service is their priority. But that does not necessarily mean that their customer service is good (though, in BuilderTrend’s case it is). In order to do that, we advise software buyers to…
Test the software products out to evaluate their customer service firsthand
Most construction software options provide free trials of their software. For the software vendors this is an opportunity to provide training and convince customers to buy the full product. Many software companies pair potential customers up with a dedicated representative to foster a positive user experience.
Demos are a great opportunity to test the customer service department.
Try communicating with them in every space available (which includes, most frequently, email, phone, and live online chat) for their response time. Measure how long it takes for them to fix an issue or respond to your question—and don’t discount how pleasant they are on the phone. Push for a full trial. eSUB’s president, Wendy Swift-Rogers, emphasizes that they try to customize every demo to each potential client’s needs—and will let them run the demo until specifications are met. When a company takes the time to learn each customer’s individual needs and has multiple points where face-time is required, that’s a good sign for the company’s future customer service.
Evaluate the sales process
Some companies will go out of their way to make a potential customer feel especially welcomed; consider it a reflection of how much stock they put in each buyer. The harder they work to reach new clients, the harder they work to keep them. A company’s sales process is a great peek into how they will treat their full-paying customers.
Take PayPanther’s sales process.
When a customer goes to their website, they are immediately offered the opportunity to chat with someone live (no CleverBots on this website). They allow users to demo the software for 30 days. To close the sale, they offer 1-on-1 demos, a webinar, and provide a dedicated account manager for all questions. Phone questions are responded to immediately (all mine were, and the CEO told me it was policy), but if the phone is daunting, they offer live chat, email (responded to in 24 hours), forums, and FAQs.
PayPanther’s sales process gives potential clients more than enough face time to evaluate how supportive their service is—and whether or not they want to continue being customers.
Look at reviews
You are not the first person to use construction management software. Luckily, many people take the time to review their experience with the product. “That Works” – SLG’s construction management software portal features hundreds of reviews. For example, if someone is interested in Co-Construct as remodeling software, they can click to their reviews and find that similar businesses have had a great experience with their customer support.
And if you’re interested in another option like, for instance, Smart Contractor (which also has great reviews on “That Works” – SLG), a quick search reveals that other customers are raving about them on online forums too.
Ask for references
Sometimes reviews don’t cut it—no two construction firms are the same, so your needs (perhaps as a residential remodeler) from a customer service department may be different than a majority of (commercial) reviewers. That’s when you pick up the phone, call the software company, describe your business, and ask for a referral. Most companies have a system in place to fit each customer’s need. If not, they should make finding your specific referral a priority. If they can’t, do you really want to subscribe to software from that company?
Finding ways to evaluate a service team before buying construction management software can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. What are ways that you’ve found to evaluate a construction software’s customer service? Leave tips and tricks in the comments below!