Putting the customer first in construction

Martin Riley, senior vice president, Tarmac

From major multinational corporations through to SMEs and fledgling start-ups, delivering great customer service is crucial to the success of every business.

Good businesses continually adapt and evolve around their customers’ needs to deliver the best possible service.

The most successful not only recognise the critical value in getting the customer journey right, but appreciate that this can be the key differentiator that sets them apart from their rivals.

In our modern 24/7 society, our expectations as consumers have never been greater or more wideranging. Today we increasingly demand to see the same standards of service from our banks, hospitals and transport operators, for example, as we do from those we purchase goods.

But what about construction?

I truly believe that our industry has taken positive steps by focusing on providing improved benefits for its ultimate customers – the payers of fares, bills and taxes that use the infrastructure we are creating.

It’s doing this by positively responding to pressures to become more productive: delivering major schemes more efficiently, more sustainably and with less disruption to the public.

Clients are playing a key role by setting out a much clearer picture of their expected outcomes and outlining the ways that project teams can help to support programme success.

Supply chain partners are meanwhile equipping themselves with new resources and ways of working that are helping to reduce project timescales and cut costs.

Embracing technology is undoubtedly key – from exploring the latest modern methods of construction through to integrating cutting-edge digital innovation.

But simply adopting a ‘bytes and mortar’ approach to construction on its own is not enough.

We need to acknowledge that people and their expertise are equally important in leading the drive for enhanced productivity, sustainability and greater efficiency.

Having started my own career as an apprentice at Tarmac more than 30 years ago, I know first-hand how vital it is to provide our future leaders with the necessary tools that allow their skills to develop and their talent to thrive. Tech therefore needs to be used as an enabler that empowers people to fulfil their potential and provide outstanding services that customers value most.

As part of our own ongoing drive to improve efficiency and boost innovation, we are proud to have introduced Tarmac Connect – which blends the three key touchpoints of people, processes and technology.

This programme is transforming how we are interacting with our customers by combining the latest innovations and streamlined operational systems with the experience and capability of our teams.

Most importantly of all it is also enabling our people – undoubtedly our business’ strongest asset – to exceed expectations and provide a more personalised and seamless service every time.

The solutions are already benefiting projects across the UK and are helping our customers to make better, more informed decisions about their materials and product needs.

Working collaboratively across supply chains towards delivering projects more efficiently has become a key priority for the construction industry. By putting the customer first, we can live up to growing expectations for service and quality.