This is the last in a series of three installments designed to help you manage the customer experience. I offer you some ideas to make the client experience more enriching after the sale has been finalized, when the work actually takes place. You have closed the deal and it is now time to get to work.
At this stage of the process, you should be concerned with more than getting the project “done.” Your objective should be to create an elated customer that raves about the work you provided. Here are three tips to help you manage the construction process better.
1. Communicate the project schedule clearly. Your project scheduling obviously includes ordering of materials with suppliers and coordinating the timing of your work crew. But scheduling should also include definitive communication with your clients. Too many projects begin with the surprise of workers suddenly showing up without notice or, worse yet, a bundle of shingles unexpectedly dropped in the middle of the driveway with no laborers there to greet the delivery.
You run a construction crew every day while your clients rarely experience the dirt, noise and initial confusion of a construction project - and on their own home no less! Your scheduling and installation process should include phone calls to the client and not merely messages left on the answering machine. Tell them what is happening and what to expect the morning that work begins.
2. Designate a spokesman on the job. It is important that someone on site is capable of discussing the project with your client. I was very satisfied with the work my roofing crew did once my new roof was installed a few years back. But while the project was under way, the crew of installers spoke Polish and only broken English. I was stressed because nobody on the job was responsive to my next door neighbor’s concerns about the mess spilling over into her yard. Make sure that someone has been trained in communicating politely with your clients in order to keep them calm and confident during the job. Meanwhile teach them to ensure proper work flow and etiquette is diligently displayed on the job.
3. Follow up. The most important opportunity you have in the business relationship with the client other than the sale itself is the follow up afterwards. A survey is a nice touch that allows you to determine client satisfaction. It is even more powerful to talk directly with your client to get qualitative feedback on the project. When clients express zealous joy at the conclusion of projects, you should strive to capture their words for Web site testimonials. If possible, direct them to Angie’s list, where they can tell the world about the positive experience they had with your company. While you’re at it, proactively seek referrals and keep that satisfied client in the loop with a subscription to your free e-newsletter. If you would like ideas on how to craft follow-up e-newsletters that will grow your business, e-mail me at rickdavis@buildingleaders.
For many years, the term “close” has been used to describe the moment when a sale is made and concluded. The origin of the term came from the implication that the sale was over and the only remaining step in the process was product delivery. You already know that the best sources of future business are referrals and testimonials from satisfied clients. In the modern world, the close is the start of the construction process and should culminate with an attempt to generate a circular route of future opportunity. The construction process is the time when you create loyal fans of your work.