It is not news to you that any construction project starts and ends with one thing: your customers. We have said it before, and we will stay it again: no matter what you are building, it is critical for you to create a positive building experience for your customer. And, what is at the forefront of creating this positive building experience? Good communication.
Get to know your customers!
A personal relationship goes a long way during a construction project. Whether you are fixing up a bathroom, building a deck, or constructing a custom home from the ground up, your customer is putting a lot of trust in you, so take a little time to get to know them. Use your listening skills and be sure to fully understand their goals of the project. You will be grateful for this connection when you go to make decisions throughout the course of your time together.
Avoid construction jargon.
In the excitement of a new project, you may occasionally blurt out a few construction-specific terms. Sure, this is not a huge deal, but it’s also confusing to customers. Remember, this isn’t their world! Try not to put your customers in a position where they feel awkward to ask for clarification on topics you and your team discuss. Instead, talk in laymen’s terms to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Set clear expectations before you start building.
To make it easier on yourself, your team, and your customers—as well as to make sure everyone is aware of the expectations—set clear expectations before you start a project. Whether your customer wants to be heavily involved or wants to be detached from the project, all expectations need to be determined before you break any ground (or knock down a wall). A few points to discuss: key point of contact, certain times of the day to be (and not to be) contacted, preferred channels of communication, etc.
Keep your customers in the loop.
Your homeowners may not need to know the exact minute the plumber is scheduled to install the drain in the downstairs bathroom, but they will expect to know the project’s big milestones. From shower completion and door installs to hardware placement and deck staining, your customers will appreciate updates. Progress photos? The answer is always yes. Build that excitement for the final product with progress photos and communication.
Always be transparent.
As a homebuilder, a surprise on an invoice is the last thing anyone expects; as a builder, a bad review after the project’s completion is the last thing you want. The best way to avoid this situation? Transparency. Clear communication when it comes to delays, unexpected costs, project issues, or miscommunications. Everyone understands that things can go wrong, so tell your customer! If you are upfront and honest, they are a lot more likely to trust you with their future projects and refer you to a friend!
You may wonder: how do you keep track of all these details, make sure your customer is happy all the time, and keep your team moving? We can sum this up in three words: project management software. Software, like Buildertrend, makes for a better construction experience. Not only will it facilitate excellent communication, but it will also help eliminate costly errors, reduce delays, and increase customer satisfaction. And, of course, make your life easier!
Dan Houghton is cofounder and executive vice president with Buildertrend.