Inside Buildertrend: Defining the customer experience

Every other Thursday, we give our listeners a glimpse into the inner workings of our business with our new “Inside Buildertrend” series on “The Building Code.” What are our teams working on? What features are coming up, and how will they benefit our users? What data and research are being collected behind the scenes? Tune in as we take a look inside Buildertrend.

How does Buildertrend define and prioritize the customer experience?

Today on “Inside Buildertrend,” Scott Hale, customer experience manager, joins Zach and Charley to talk about the exciting new initiatives happening in our Customer Experience team.

Tune in to hear more about how the Customer Experience team is connecting the dots between the voice of the customer and Buildertrend’s internal departments by answering questions like: What support do our customers need from us? What are they expecting from us from marketing? What do they need our product to do to support their business needs?

What are the key takeaways?

  • What does the Customer Experience team do?: The Customer Experience team at Buildertrend focuses on initiatives that define our implied promises and how we deliver on those promises for our customers in the most effective ways.
  • How are we measuring customer experience?: Customer experience is measured through feedback. Many of our users already see emails with surveys in their inboxes. Now, they’ll get questions in Buildertrend’s software as well. We’re implementing in-platform questions because the best feedback happens when customers are in the middle of using a feature.
  • How are current initiatives helping users?: One of the biggest initiatives currently being worked on is organizing customer feedback that impacts feature updates. The Customer Experience team collects every piece of feedback related to certain features and organizes it by feature. This makes it easier for the Product team to prioritize and deliver new tools and improvements that align with customer needs.

Why is this cool for Buildertrend users?

The Customer Experience team was formed to ensure our customers have a wholistic, valuable experience with Buildertrend – whether it’s the usage of our software or interactions with our team. Customer feedback collected by this team plays a huge role in the prioritization and decisions regarding which feature updates are made.

LINKS AND MORE

Related content:

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Scott Hale Headshot

Scott Hale | Buildertrend

Zach Wojtowicz:

Welcome back everybody to “The Building Code.” Zach Wojtowicz here.

Charley Burtwistle:

And I’m Charley Burtwistle.

Zach Wojtowicz:

It’s been a while since we’ve been in the studio. It’s a Friday. We’re feeling good. Charley?

Charley Burtwistle:

Yeah, it has been a while. You’ve been, as always, traveling all over, getting all sorts of luxurious gifts thrown at you. I’ve been here in the office working, making this company money, but it’s good to see you again. I hope your vacation was fantastic.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Charlie’s a little upset. There’s a little bit of drama going on with attire because …

Charley Burtwistle:

Yeah. Because Zach gets all this free merch that supposedly … Because if you remember from a couple episodes that ago, Zach got promoted, very well deserved. Apparently, with that promotion, you get a vest, you get a jacket, you get all sorts of stuff. I have gotten none of that, but I’m going to … Okay.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Maybe someday.

Charley Burtwistle:

Yeah. I’m going to come into this episode more positive, and it’s an exciting episode. We have Scott Hale here in office who works very, very closely with you. Sits 10 feet in front of me. I’ve been trying not to talk to him for a really long time to save our conversation for the podcast, and here it is.

Zach Wojtowicz:

This is the moment of truth.

Charley Burtwistle:

Yeah. What are we talking with Scott today?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. Scott is on the Customer Experience team. On these inside Buildertrend episodes, we get to dive deep into the things that are going on. This is a newer initiative. I’m really excited to bring Scott on because him and I have had many conversations that impact customer success, and he’s one of our own, he comes from CS and now he’s spinning up this new initiative. I also am excited to hear him talk about how I’m his best friend at Buildertrend today. I’d be really disappointed, if he didn’t say that at some point. So, let’s get him in here. Scott Hale, welcome to “The Building Code.”

Scott Hale:

Thanks for having me. Excited to be here. Longtime listener. First time visitor, hopefully many time visitor.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Absolutely. We’ll see how this one goes.

Charley Burtwistle:

Yeah, we won’t get ahead of ourselves, but I have high hopes. Scott, tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been with Buildertrend?

Scott Hale:

Yeah, so as Zach mentioned, I’ve been at Buildertrend for about three years. One of our own started out training clients was a customer success manager for about two years. After that I joined the research team. Taking myself outside of Buildertrend, my background is in advertising. Came up through the advertising ranks specifically during this rise of social media. Got a lot of time spent thinking about and trying to deliver on brand promises. Ultimately joining the research team, it’s like, we’re digging into what does Buildertrend implied to promise and how do we deliver that to our customers in the most effective ways?

Charley Burtwistle:

Wow. Very eloquently put. I love that. I feel like that’s something we’ve talked about a lot on these minisodes when we’re interviewing in people from the office, our big initiative this year that everyone’s really getting behind is customer first, customer first, customer first. That’s kind of your entire world is how do we figure out exactly what they want to do and what they’re trying to do and make it as easy as possible for them?

Scott Hale:

Yeah. I really think of it as connecting the dots between our builders and what they’re saying, the voice of our customer and then also all of our internal units. What do our customers need from us on a support side? What are they expecting from us from marketing? What do they need our product to do to support their business needs?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah, it’s something that when we’re like doubling down on customer focus, customer centricity, we’re not saying we weren’t focused on the customer before, but it’s really kind of changing the culture of our business and in every meeting now, there’s kind of this feeling of even in data science or in product or in the technology team or even HR. People who aren’t maybe talking to the customer, there’s this kind of feel that we’re trying to focus on and having a customer experience team on the user research team makes a lot of sense who can kind of help us pull all those things together, connect all the dots and really create an experience that kind of is holistic. It’s unified, from whoever you talk to from point A to point B along your way, with your Buildertrend interaction, you have the best experience possible. So, like let’s just dive in a little deeper. What is your typical day look like? What does your team doing on a daily basis then?

Scott Hale:

Yeah. Great question. We are just living in feedback. Many of our listeners, I’m sure, have been to our feedback forum. That is a new part of my team. We just inherited that. We’re analyzing what are the topics that people need? What are the AR like gaps that Buildertrend isn’t solving and then who do we need to talk to get that in place? But beyond that, like you said, Zach, we’re taking a new approach and a sort of revitalized approach to listening to our customers. My team is constantly building out surveys.

Again, many of our users are going to start seeing more emails with surveys in their inboxes. You’re going to notice that Buildertrend at the software itself is going to start asking you questions if you haven’t already been asked. Hopefully, we’re just trying to stay out of the way at the same time. We know that builders are trying to get their job done, but we need to know where we’re missing the mark and not helping them get their job done. If you see those emails, answer them. We get those answer rates up. We don’t have to ask in platform so much anymore, but the reality is when you’re right in the moment, that’s when we need the feedback.

Charley Burtwistle:

I actually … so, that’s something since I started working in data science, have started doing is filling out surveys a lot more like before I work.

Zach Wojtowicz:

You’re like empathetic to the …

Charley Burtwistle:

Not empathetic, but now that I’ve seen Scott and his team and how they’re like, they’re in a meeting and presenting, “Hey, people answer this, this, this, so we’re going to make X, Y, Z changes to make it better.” I’m like, “Oh, that makes total sense.” So, I was like, “Wait, what I say will actually make the product better for me, why wouldn’t you answer?” Then in the comment section, I always say like, “Hey, huge, shout out to your data science team, follow me on LinkedIn. We connect.”

Zach Wojtowicz:

Way to plug yourself on like Microsoft Teams surveys.

Charley Burtwistle:

No, when I get emails from products I use.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Oh yeah.

Charley Burtwistle:

I say, “Check out ‘The Building Code’ podcast @CharlieBurt on all socials.” Yes.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Check out my co-presenter. He is really great. I actually don’t.

Scott Hale:

Well, Charley. You joke, right? So, data science, we sit so close to each other. We don’t directly talk to each other, but we really are two sides to the same coin. It’s been really cool to see how all of the data we collect tells a story. Then all of the insights we have or all the interactions we have provided insights that tell that same story with a little bit different narrative. Our work has always partnered together really closely, which is great.

Charley Burtwistle:

Great. Yeah. The metaphor I always give on interviews and stuff, when I’m trying to explain like the Data Science team versus the Data Research team, user experience is what good is spotting the iceberg if you can’t steer the ship. I feel like you can find a ton of really, really good insights and forecast and trends in data. But if you’re not actually talking to the customer to understand why it’s using that way or why it’s training that way or how we can improve it, you can’t really steer the ship. It’s been a very fun and beneficial collaboration across the research team there.

Scott Hale:

Yeah. It’s been, like I said, I’m, I’m relatively new to this. We got about a year under my belt. It’s you got to get your feet wet. I think something Buildertrend does really well is support its own. Bring people up through the ranks and people ask me, what’s your favorite research initiative so far? Always bring up. I spent two years interviewing customers, helping them with their businesses and developing my own stories and my own insights that I now get to spread through the company a little bit broader.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. If possible, can you share some of the work that you’re doing right now to help Buildertrend users? I know we’ve got some big projects, so I’d love to hear a tangible example of something that maybe you’re actively working on with your team.

Scott Hale:

Yeah, absolutely. The big one is the mass update to our Estimate feature. We started this such a long time ago, and our team went into work mode and they built this massive tool. If we’re going to throw our hands up and say, there were some things that we didn’t know, there were some bugs under the rocks we didn’t see coming. The big initiative for about half my team right now is looking at estimates saying, “What landed and what do we need to tweak to make it work for everybody?” We’re working directly with our Product teams. My team has gathered every single piece of feedback we’ve heard in the last year as people had their hands on this tool, and we’ve summarized it. We’ve organized. We’ve been reaching out to builders who understand more about what they’re saying.

The more clarity we can build onto those insights, the easier it is for the Product team to deliver something that aligns with our customers. Because, ultimately, that’s what we’re here for is to support the business, to make them successful. When our builders win, we win. We’re here around these walls every single day, and we’re sort of bringing that to the next level, especially with estimates. You’ll see upcoming, iterative releases to that estimate that are directly from things people have told us. I like to tell my team, identify the smoke, go find the fire and then product can put it out.

Charley Burtwistle:

Wow, I love that. Put that on a t-shirt right there for sure.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Got another one, got another one. Nicole, we need another t-shirt.

Charley Burtwistle:

We got a long running list. Maybe if Zach starts suggesting them, we’ll actually start getting them the …

Scott Hale:

Big t-shirt company.

Charley Burtwistle:

… Yeah. The past few guests that we’ve had on for these minisodes have been people in the Product team, and they always start with, “Well, we looked at the data, we looked at the research and now we’re seeing where that came from,” which is really, really cool. What does that kind of like collaboration look like? How do you normally take these findings and distribute them down to the people that are putting out the fires as you put it?

Scott Hale:

Yeah. We’re specifically focused on the release cycle right now. We view it as every product owner just has a bunch of tools in their tool belt, and one is the Customer Experience team. Where we live is what have builders already said, or what do we need to know from them in bulk? What can we survey? Who can we ask, who are the users that we can find to talk to? Because that’s the ultimate thing we’re looking for insights from interactions at this point. Does that kind of answer the question? It’s such a collaborative process. They’re sitting together in meetings every day. Releases go through tons and tons of meetings before they actually see light today. The CX team is sitting in those meetings, making sure that nobody’s talking about things that builders aren’t talking about.

Charley Burtwistle:

No. Yeah, that definitely answers my question. I guess it also is not just product focused. You work with Zach and the CS team a little bit on improving the onboarding and training experience, too, as well, right?

Scott Hale:

Yeah. 100% because that’s where we really started in customer experience. We said, “Our product team, they can build a product, but where we can improve is with our interactions.” So, yeah, we started looking at all of our marketing emails, all of the emails our reps send every single phone call, our Sales team and our market or success team make. What we found is they’re doing really well, we’re communicating pretty well. We just need to focus on handoffs between the teams and between the interactions. What’s happening while you’re not on the phone with us or while you’re not reading our emails and that’s where we’re starting to send those surveys. It’s like, “Hey, where can we do better for you?”

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. It’s really kind of been exciting from a CX metric. Like every business owner’s familiar with KPIs and the outputs of like the business being healthy and successful, and obviously, Buildertrend looks at that. We’ve kind of started to talk about from a confidence, how are builders really feeling about the commitment to Buildertrend that they’re having? How easy is it to use the product? How good of an experience is it? I think as we continue to put those in front of our own internal teams, it’s only going to lead to better interactions across our entire organization, from sales through to product and customer experience. It was no easy lift. It’s been something that I’ve had a front row seat into his entire world of what it looks like. I’m excited to see how it continues to evolve over the next year.

Scott Hale:

Yeah. You nailed it. Not to tip the cards too much, but how confident are you that Buildertrend can support your business needs? It’s truly obvious that if that’s where we’re aimed at is solving business needs, your confidence should grow in Buildertrend as a company and as a partner and Buildertrend should always be easier to use. Like I said earlier, you’re trying to get a job done and Buildertrend’s just helping you try to get that job done, so it’s easy as possible and then satisfaction speaks for itself as well. Are you happy doing what you’re doing? Those are the kind of questions that we need to know. I love a good open-ended survey question. That’s when you ask about my day-to-day – it’s I spend at least an hour or two just sifting through survey responses and those open ends are that’s my bread and butter. I love analyzing and telling a story with those.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Is there any feedback you get that just kind of makes it like chuckle or something that you can share that you’re just like ‘Wow. Okay.’

Scott Hale:

I don’t want to accidentally throw any anybody under the bus.

Zach Wojtowicz:

We’ll keep it anonymous.

Scott Hale:

No, my favorite responses are the ones that are just brutally honest. Like you can’t hurt our feelings. That’s why we send them. That’s why we send those surveys. Then outside of that, the ones I get a chuckle out of are the people who take on their own language for the types of things they’re using Buildertrend for. Because what that says to me is as a community, that business is speaking of the way that Buildertrend connects to their company in ways we never thought of. It sort of shed some light on the day-to-day of builders. Again, I love connecting those dots and saying, “We think of these features with these names and these terms,” but people take them and make them their own. It’s really cool to share that with people.

Charley Burtwistle:

Yeah, absolutely. That’s kind of your new role Zach is taking a lot of that feedback and making these changes on the CS floor.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Totally. As we’ve gotten more nuance in understanding what defines a good experience, we would be foolish not to change how we’ve traditionally done our customer success and really reevaluate. When is the right time to reach out versus when is a customer getting what they need and respecting that and saying, you’re getting the value you’re looking for. We’re here for you when you need us, but we don’t necessarily have to continue to hit you with phone calls and emails and at a certain point you’re getting what you want. As long as you’re aware of what resources exist, those metrics that we measure, if confidence and effort and satisfaction should continue to grow and same with their product adoption and all the things that come with it. It’s really cool because Scott and I work really closely and it’s kind of representative of Buildertrend’s metamorphosis as being cross-functional because we have Kayleigh in marketing that we’re kind of the trio of that whole messaging, the journey and the customer experience in from a high touch standpoint.

Then we have you and data science who can give us those business analytic insights to make even more decisions. We’ve got other people across the org that support us as well, like Scott working with product and then improve that so that everybody’s benefiting it. It’s extremely exciting. I just can’t wait to see like in a year what Buildertrend looks like because we’re really just, we’ve only been doing these types of cross-functional things to this level over the last five months, we’ve already made so much progress, and it’s really, really cool.

Scott Hale:

It’s amazing what happens when you get everybody in a room?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. The power of collaboration. If only Charley would start being nice to me, imagine what we could accomplish.

Charley Burtwistle:

Well, you used a really good word there, metamorphosis. That was a big time. It is also very cool of you to give data sciences shout out. So, I feel like we got a shout out Brooks Coleman, who is the person on my team that is actually doing all this work. I appreciate you saying data science and looking at me, but you mainly just meant Brooks.

Zach Wojtowicz:

That’s true. Yeah. He’s actually my favorite. Oh, that’s not true. That would leave Mitch out to dry and I can’t do that.

Charley Burtwistle:

Wow. A huge shout out for Brooks and Mitch. Hopefully they’re listening.

Zach Wojtowicz:

You got a team of rockstars. We all know it.

Scott Hale:

Yeah. I mean, Zach you’re glossing over the good stuff. I mean, we couldn’t do it without Brooks. The research team, Abby Meyer is always on top of it. Katie Brown’s team. She’s been a multi-time guest, I think.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. She’s on the hall of fame of “The building Code” for sure.

Scott Hale:

Yeah. It’s truly representative of the entire company, but we also glossed over the word journey there. That’s the ultimate goal of our customer experience team is to understand the builder point of view in which journeys they’re going through and how we usher them through those journeys. We just want to be that great partner.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Love it, Scott. We’re about up against the time here. Is there anything else you’d like to add in regards to the CX team or anything that you’re working at Buildertrend?

Scott Hale:

No, like I said, we’re just getting our feet off the ground at this point. We’ve got all the support and metamorphosis. I think that’s probably the word of the podcast at this point. It’s more t-shirts it’s just, more to come. I’m excited to continue to just carry that voice of the customer through every department in Buildertrend.

Zach Wojtowicz:

If there’s one thing you learned listening to this podcast, answer those survey questions.

Charley Burtwistle:

Answer the surveys.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Because that is what’s going to make the difference. We promise.

Charley Burtwistle:

Absolutely. And give podcast recommendations and while you’re in there because you know that Scott reachable now.

Zach Wojtowicz:

We just brought Scott on it. Now Scott’s going through our “The Building Code” reviews.

Charley Burtwistle:

He should.

Zach Wojtowicz:

What would be our CX metrics for “The Building Code?” Charley insults to Zach.

Charley Burtwistle:

Yeah. Something like that. T-shirt ideas. It would be on that note. You can like this on Spotify or Apple.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Like, comment, subscribe, baby …

Charley Burtwistle:

Comment.

Zach Wojtowicz:

… Check us out on YouTube.

Charley Burtwistle:

That’d be fantastic. We love some listener engagement. On the note of customer experience, do all those things. That’d be fantastic. Scott.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Because Charley likes to say, you got to pump those numbies.

Charley Burtwistle:

You got to pump the numbies, for sure. Thank you very much for coming on another fantastic episode. I love these minisodes.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Me too.

Charley Burtwistle:

It’s nice to take a step back out of our day-to-day work and working with these people and actually talk about high-level impact they’re making.

Zach Wojtowicz:

I like how you just called them these people.

Charley Burtwistle:

Our guests, I guess.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Our colleagues and professionals.

Charley Burtwistle:

Yeah. Colleagues and professionals.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Oh boy. All right. We’re signing out on “The Building Code.” Thanks for joining us. Zach Wojtowicz.

Charley Burtwistle:

Charley Burtwistle.

Zach Wojtowicz:

We’ll catch you next time.

Charley Burtwistle:

See you.


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