One of the core strengths of the construction industry is a deep-rooted sense of collaboration. We’ve all heard that “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” but it wasn’t built by one person either. Any construction project, large or small, is the result of many people contributing their skill and ingenuity to the greater good.
This is in large part why the quality of the construction customer service we provide at PlanGrid is so important to us. We don’t want to simply provide a solution that demonstrates the value of modern technology in today’s challenging construction climate. We want to go further — to provide an unparalleled level of support to our customers the way they support each other.
Recently, PlanGrid was honored to have our customer support team recognized by Zendesk, an industry leader in customer support. In their blog post, Zendesk shares that while their support software has given us the tools we need to scale, it’s our extraordinary people-first philosophy that makes our construction customer service worthy of their award.
The PlanGrid Approach
As our Director of Customer Support (and very first team hire), Emily VerMeulen has shaped our approach to customer service more than anyone else. Although she now works with a full team of agents that provide multichannel support across live chat, email, and the self-service “Help Center,” Emily doesn’t let anything distract her from our core values.
According to Emily, PlanGrid’s customer service team operates on the idea that every decision we make and every action we take related to our customers comes from a foundation of respect and kindness. This idea — combined with our unique understanding that every second of every day in the construction industry has a dollar value — has given us the focus and stability our customers rely on. According to Emily, this boils down to treating people like real human beings and being mindful of their time:
The baseline is recognizing the person on the other end is a human, who has their own struggles and desires. In remote customer service, it can feel less personal, so it’s really key to remember that what people are doing with PlanGrid is their livelihood. It’s not a game. It’s how they make a living. They build highways, homes, and hospitals — they build our society. Anytime they have a question, it needs to be answered as quickly as possible so they can get back to their work.
With such a strong foundation, it’s no wonder that PlanGrid makes collaboration easier than ever, especially for those working in the field (where so much time in construction is spent). Everything from up-to-date blueprints to real-time project information is available anywhere, on any device, at any time. By improving field collaboration, PlanGrid helps construction professionals increase their productivity, which not only saves time but also helps projects get completed faster. But even power users occasionally need help, which is why customer service is a top priority for our long-term strategy.
Start with the Service that Customers Deserve
The first tool we used to handle support issues was perfect for a smaller company. As soon as we began to expand, however, we started losing track of increasingly complex user questions. We were having difficulty passing user cases between internal departments like finance, business development, and sales. Maintaining visibility into those tickets — including where they were and where they were going — was difficult on the best of days.
Something had to give.
After spending two months trying out six different tools, PlanGrid ultimately decided on Zendesk Support. In just a short year, that choice has already proven to be an overwhelming success. On average, our team responds to chat requests within just 7 seconds and they’re now consistently answering most emails within 30 minutes. They were able to collectively bring their email response time down from 65 minutes to 27 minutes — an impressive 58% improvement.
While those stats have given us reason to celebrate, the most exciting benefit of updating our support systems has been qualitative, not quantitative. Emily underscores how important it is:
Construction hasn’t really changed for decades. Software for construction teams is new, so there is a big shift. They’re making a leap, and we need to show them that we’re going to do everything we possibly can to alleviate their pain. For our customers, it’s comforting to know that they’re going to quickly get in contact with a real person. A lifeline, a real support system.
The construction industry has historically been fairly underserved by software and a lot of pros are resistant to change. Zendesk has helped us to double down on our philosophy, providing the industry with the software they need to do their jobs, and the trustworthy, credible and efficient support they know they can depend on when things get tough.