Customer support - beyond the BuildIT program

Over the past 14 years, we have developed a tried and tested, robust program for our current and future customers. It works, and works well. Screens load fast, and our highly optimized code ensures you get what you need, make your changes, and get off the system fast so you can get on with your business.

That's the way it's supposed to work, but for some customers, the fact is, their computers are just bogged down, unhealthy, and at times, plain broken. Their positive experience online, with BuildIT or any other online system, is hampered by any number of issues that have nothing to do with our software, such as

  • web browser hijackers
  • adware/spyware
  • pop up ad software
  • useless toolbars that suck up resources real estate on your screen
  • updates (Java, Windows, Adobe)
  • browser settings that don't allow BuildIT to function fully
  • missing software/addons

At BuildIT, when you subscribe to our service, you get... well, our service, and it's not just answering your questions on our software, but we go a step further. If you are having problems, with your approval and an app you download, we can connect our computer with yours, doing a "screen share", so you can see our mouse on your computer screen. We'll do what we can to ensure you have a great experience with our software, and we may even find a few things that will remove those frustrations you have with your computer, but don't know where to start.

Case in point - a customer called up last week. She couldn't upload any files, or print any PDF documents from BuildIT. We connected our computers, and right away, we determined she had the Conduit browser hijacker messing with her system. Seconds later, that was removed. There was an Adobe update pending, and we took care of that - since BuildIT has PDF documents available, it is important to ensure all your Adobe updates are current. Her Java software was outdated so that was brought up to the recent version - this is required to run our multi-file uploader program for Google Chrome/Mozilla Firefox. We checked her installed programs through her Control Panel, and found a few programs that really didn't need to be there, taking up valuable space on the hard drive; some of these programs are designed to run in the background, eating up resources and slowing down the performance of your computer. Finally, we tweaked her 2 main web browsers to improve how they work with BuildIT... and while we were at it, we even got her accounting software to print to PDF properly.

All in a days work !

So... before you spend the money on online tech support for your computer (or bring it to the repair shop and pay their rates), let BuildIT help you - it's part of our service, and we want you to have a great experience with our software, and company. And the sooner you get off your computer and get to the site, or pick up the phone, the better. 

 Scott Hutchinson
 scott@builditsystems.com
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1

Smart Phones and BuildIT

With the massive proliferation of smart phones in recent months, and their adoption en masse by contractors and field personnel, we're getting a lot of enquiries about whether BuildIT has "an app" available.

It's not a question of whether we will build one, it's when.

An "app" is specifically designed for a small screen device and is fairly "light weight" in terms of feature set. And they're all the rage now. There are goofy ones (like the Orc detector... you can tell if one of your friends is an Orc from Lord of the Rings, then of course, you'd have to kill him)... then there are those designed for productivity.

But what we've found is most customers are having success using iPhones, Android smart phones, iPads etc. with BuildIT as is. All you need is a web browser, and you can access your BuildIT account.

I've been using a Samsung Galaxy smart phone for a few months now, and can easily access most of the functions and controls in BuildIT. And while there are some current limitations (that will likely be solved as 1000's of smart phone customers clog up tech support lines and online technical forums), we see most BuildIT customers benefiting from wireless access to the system with these devices.

Case in point - prior to writing this, I just spent 18 minutes on my smart phone, logged into my BuildIT account.

Here's what I did:

1. Created a new job (Martin Residence)

2. Entered a schedule template of 28 tasks related to a kitchen renovation.

3. Modifed durations of 2 tasks using the Gantt popup power bar... watch the schedule adjust in real time.

4. Set 1 task to 100% completed - keeps the schedule up to date.

5. Entered specific details in one of the tasks... while it was on my mind.

6. Entered a note tied to the Martin Residence... for others on my team to reference

7. Assigned a task to a sub contractor... so he would know where he's supposed to be, and when.

8. Created a standard "invitation to tender" from the myriad of construction document templates available to all BuildIT users.

9. Faxed that invitation to tender to a contact on my team (and was messaged minutes later from him about that fax he received!!).

10. Created a calendar appointment tied to the project... where other BuildIT users can see so they know when my time is booked.

11. Sent a text message to a contact (the contents of which get stored in BuildIT in the "sent email" folder, and tied to the Martin Residence).

12. Then logged out and got on with my day.

You don't have to be a 13 year old with lightning fast thumbs to make BuildIT work on a smart phone. Just an interest in becoming more productive and taking advantage of the technology to allow you to manage your business and make decisions wherever you happen to be.

Imangine: you and/or your employees accomplishing this much in 18 minutes for your business... from the truck !

Personally, I find it easier to be in front of a computer typing on a regular keyboard, and viewing a large monitor, but I don't always have that luxury, and neither will you or your employees.

Make the jump soon to becoming "untethered, and get more out of BuildIT.

 Scott Hutchinson
 scott@builditsystems.com
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1

Technology Adoption Challenges for Construction Businesses

(This article reprinted with permission. Thanks to Josh Groves, President of jobtrio.com, the largest directory of construction contractors on the web. The goal of jobtrio.com is to efficiently connect contractors with consumers who truly value their services.)

Within any company, it is never easy to convince the workforce that a new, technological advancement has made an old way of doing things obsolete. For instance, no matter how my staff tried to explain to me the advantages of the new Windows 7 operating system over XP, I dragged my feet and resisted the change. From my observations, this aversion to technology adoption is far more present in the construction industry than any other major field.

For the most part, construction companies live and die by their continued presence and productivity on the jobsite. Typically, there is little thought given by management to company-wide initiatives or employee training because these acts would necessarily pull the workforce out of the field. Therefore, even if one day of training on a new technology might result in large future gains in employee efficiency, managers usually are not willing to take the risk.

I experienced this first hand as a construction industry Operations Manager for a medium-sized company. Every day I would watch at least thirty minutes get wasted by each employee as they struggled to determine which tasks were to be priorities for the work-day.  The fix seemed simple to me: adopt a basic, web-based system which could allow workers to login and view updated project management information. My estimate was that this system, taking into account training and maintenance, would pay for itself in a matter of a month.

Needless to say, I encountered tremendous resistance from my boss and from all of the workers in the field, and the initiative never got beyond my written proposal. 

This is just one example of what I experienced time and time again -- PDAs, driver GPS, field laptops -- I could never get my company to consider any of these technologies, and, from speaking with others whose businesses rely on their contractor's license, this sort of stone-walling is quite typical.  But, what is to be done? 

My first inclination is to say that until a younger, more tech-savvy generation of contractors who understand the value of technology investments steps into management positions, we aren't likely to see a change anytime soon.  However, if you are dedicated to your company's long-term success, it is wise to fight the good fight, and eventually your supervisors might adopt some of the new, money and time saving technologies which could be key to your company's survival.

 Scott Hutchinson
 scott@builditsystems.com
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1