When I started working full time for my family-owned design and building business in the early 1980s, I had a pager (remember those?), a fax machine and a bulky mobile phone attached to my car console that looked like the Bat Phone.
At the time, our company was considered very technologically advanced. And while technology has certainly evolved exponentially since then, our company still prides itself on staying up on the latest technology to provide our customers with the best experience and service.
Today, we use technology that makes the whole design and build process more interactive, rewarding and seamless for our clients. Home remodel projects can be both exciting and stressful—so we aim to keep our clients connected and aligned every step of the way. Our client projects can span months and involve many moving pieces, so it’s critical we maintain a high level of trust and engagement throughout the entire process.
“Our client projects can span months and involve many moving pieces, so it’s critical we maintain a high level of trust and engagement throughout the entire process.”
Keeping customers connected
One important way we do this is by using cloud-based software that allows us to manage projects and provide ongoing updates to clients. While the software is designed for our industry, it’s basically project management, customer relationship management and job-estimating tools wrapped together in one easy-to-use program.
It creates a daily log of every event attached to each client project—such as a permit that’s been pulled, a visit by a building inspector, cost estimates from suppliers, and photos of the job site. Our team goes into the system each day to update those logs. Clients can then check the status of their project any time they want and from any device.
Though we are always diligent to provide clients with updates via site meetings, phone calls and emails, our clients love the platform because they can check it at their own convenience. It also helps us work faster in terms of workflow and managing relationships with our vendors—which of course customers appreciate, too.
Bringing designs to life
Another important way we use technology is giving our clients a real-life preview of our design work—so they can give us better, earlier feedback. For example, we’re currently building a small, 800-square-foot house for a woman who is moving to San Diego from Oregon to be closer to her family.
All of our meetings with this client are virtual using Zoom or Microsoft Teams. After determining that she wanted a Mid-Century Modern design, our team used Autodesk Revit, an architectural design and modeling software, to create a 3-D model of our proposed home design. This software makes it easy for us to share our design work virtually, giving this client a true-to-life, 360-degree tour of the space we’re creating for her—and of course makes it easy for her to provide any feedback.
3-D modeling has dramatically transformed our business. People have trouble visualizing what a space is going to look like, and this allows us to bring our designs to life—letting clients see their future kitchen island long before it’s built, how their furniture will fit in the room and the contours of their patio.
I often say that listening is the most important skill in our industry. Our technology helps us become better listeners by ultimately being able to more effectively include clients in our designs and keep them closely connected to our work for them.Print this article