How do you value client service when evaluating software?

Nicholas Johnson posted the following article on LinkedIn.

My team is on a winning streak. We’ve recently announced a bunch of enterprise wide software agreements with some great companies. Now the technical team is busy helping our new partners get ramped up with new tools and new methods. I’m not part of the technical team but I try to attend as many of the implementation and training engagements as possible because I learn so much more about my client’s needs.  Today in one such meeting I ran into new partner who gave me some very valuable insight.

Manny TeodoroManny Teodoro is a leader in the preconstruction group at Balfour Beatty Construction (BBC), based in their Charlotte office.  Manny and I met back in the spring of this year when we were beginning our business conversations about BBC moving away from many disparate systems for estimating into our DESTINI Estimator solution. For six months BBC has explored our solution and Manny was a big part of that. He has completed projects and in doing so had a great deal of interaction with our team. As soon as we greeted each other Manny congratulated me on our mutual victory, the decision to move forward as partners. And he gave me his answer to the question, “How do you value client service when evaluating software?”

“You guys were awesome to work with. Every step of the way your team was top notch.”

Obviously great service had made a difference to Manny. He had spent “spare” time learning DESTINI Estimator and used the solution on a live project. Our support team had answered lots of questions along the way and even helped create a special report for BBC’s customer. In the end he completed a successful project. A win for BBC and win for Beck Technology.

As our workday progressed we affirmed another lesson about supporting partners. It’s more than having a great helpdesk. Last June we had gone through a formal evaluation program with BBC which we call an Estimator Exploration. (See the article on this process by Beck Technology’s Tyler Barron, http://www.linkedin.com/pulse/adventures-explorations-tyler-barron-mba?trk=hp-feed-article-title-publish )  During the Exploration we asked for input, BBC had offered many suggestions for enhancements which they felt were necessary. We listened, we planned, we asked again, and then we acted. In a few weeks we will roll out our next release of DESTINI Estimator, 2017 1.0, which will include dozens of enhancements requested by a number of general contractors including BBC. Manny told us today that this was an important quality that influenced BBC’s decision to partner with Beck Technology.

“We told you what we needed and where you could improve. You listened and involved us in the solution. And then you delivered on your promises.  No other software vendor has delivered that kind of service to us before.”

So how important is client service?  How many times have your evaluations of any product, software or not, let you to a conclusion that all the compared products are 85-90% good, and all lack 10-15% of functionality? If that’s the case, service or partnership should make ALL the difference. I believe that our technology is head and shoulders above almost anything we compete against. But I am so proud that our customers believe that our service is absolutely unmatched.