Whether eating out at a restaurant or checking out at a local store, many of us can agree that customer service at all businesses is not created equally. If most builders are honest, customer service intentionality in their own businesses often takes a backseat to emphasis on building project logistics. Yet most satisfied clients agree it is the combination of expert building skill and positive builder-client rapport that makes them happy at the end of the building venture.
Why is good customer service important for a builder?
A: Quite simply, good customer service leads to customer satisfaction, which will generate good word of mouth and good referrals. The opposite is also true. There is nothing more damaging to a business than a negative social media rant by a disgruntled client. When clients are happy, your business will grow. Although the completion of a quality building project is important, building a relationship with your client is equally crucial to your success. What are some of the areas of frustration that customers experience?
A: Clients lament that their primary pet peeve is a lack of consistent, clear communication from the builder. Clients want to be informed of price changes and scheduling delays. They are also frustrated when a builder simply delays in answering their email or phone call. In today’s age of instant communication, it’s important to reply immediately to a business call and set up the expectation as to when a meaningful conversation can occur. In an upcoming issue, we’ll be introducing some great apps that can help you in stay in better contact with your clients. Letting the client know you’re working on the answer will go a long way in keeping their opinion of your business favorable. When in doubt, communicate. Err on the side of more communication than you feel is necessary. Remember, most clients are not familiar with the building process. Your assurance as the professional on the job that everything is going okay will build client confidence in you and your work. Clients are also concerned that builders may not follow through on instructions or requests they make. Avoiding or ignoring client requests (even their unreasonable ones) is a bad business practice. Explain to a client why something they suggest won’t work or strive to make the client’s request a reality when possible. Proper communication and planning on the front end of a project will often minimize these mid-job hassles as well. Clients who are frustrated with the lack of progress or time frame the job is taking may not understand the time involved in aspects of building like inspections, electrical and mechanical work, or plumbing. Communicating the smaller time frames within the greater scope of the entire project will minimize client frustration and allow you to focus on getting the job done instead of putting out fires from client misunderstandings.
What gets in the way of builders providing good service? A: Many builders do not realize they aren’t offering quality
customer service because most builders are focused on the literal quality of the building project. As a builder, it is important to see the building experience from the client’s perspective and to realize that both the quality of the project and the quality of the collaboration experience are equally important to the client.