Good Companies Adopt Technology That Improves Internal Efficiency. Great Companies Invest In Technology That Generates External Impact.
I remember when my previous construction company invested in a new project software. It was a good tool for us, nothing exceptionally crazy that shook the world, but it had more bells and whistles than our prior software. Internally, it was a small step up, valuable enough for us to learn and use, but it made zero change to our customer experience.
The new project software did not help us communicate better with customers. We did not provide new or better levels of service. To customers, life was the same. I began to wonder ‘Can we invest in a different place, a more visible place, a more impactful place? How can we make the biggest impact with technology for our customers?’
Investing In Technology That Changes Customer Experience Is An Investment In Your Customer Base.
Technology companies understand this better than any other industry. It is the reason that your smartphone constantly prompts you to update your apps. Now, and for the foreseeable future, competitive advantage is all about new features and new functions making the customer experience better…making the experience different…making it faster…making it easier.
Industries such as field service and construction have traditionally lagged on this effort because change is hard. The change from handwritten paperwork to digital communication was—and probably still is—the biggest customer-centric investment many companies have made in our industry. It was an enormous shift and was something that once gave you a talking point during a sales presentation or in the bid process. Here’s a question…is it still a competitive advantage? Or something your customers expect?
Now I ask you another tough question, was the leap from pen and paper the last customer-centric technology investment you made? If it was, it’s almost 2019, you are due for another one. If you have not yet made that leap, I encourage you to waste no time in doing so. If you are currently debating yourself in your mind whether your GPS investment was customer centric, I can tell you, no matter how you swing that stick, it was not.
A Key To Customer-centric Technology: Invest In What’s Valuable, Not What’s Cool.
So how can you identify smart investments customer-centric tech? A customer-focused technology should do three critical things:
- Deliver value on every single call, including service, installs, site surveys, etc. Great technology needs to become part of how you deliver service every single time.
- Provide a platform that is easy for customers to access, consume, and understand information, whether they are using a mobile device or a desktop.
- Help you inform and educate your customer by enabling you to communicate on the service provided, any service-related issues, and any recommendations you make for the betterment of their home or building.
If the technology you are evaluating checks all three of these boxes, then you are looking at one hell of a good product. Whatever you choose, avoid the cool, find the valuable, and make sure it makes an impact.
Hopefully this got you thinking about where your investment dollars will go as the 2019 Budget Planning season kicks off. Investing in your customer experience is a solid strategy for allocating technology dollars to generate real impact.