Let’s have a chat about a topic as hefty as a builder’s breakfast – keeping customer relations shipshape in the construction industry. It’s something that is not always easy to achieve, but something that is also extremely vital to the continued success of any builder. So, without further ado…
Knock, Knock – Communication’s Key
One of the most important aspects of maintaining good customer relationships in the construction industry is communication, and just like a well-oiled drum, it needs to be smooth and efficient to be effective. You should always aim to keep your customers in the loop at every step of their project, and let them know about potential snags, and that scaffolding that’s been standing longer than the Shard, for example. The more they know, the less likely they are to get annoyed about things seemingly taking longer than they should, or any other little issues that crop up as they are wont to do.
Honesty is a Vital Building Block
Honesty, as they say, is the best policy, and this is certainly true when it comes to keeping a positive customer relationship in the construction industry. In fact, it’s fair to say that honesty forms the foundation of strong customer relationships. Whether it’s delays due to rainy weather (we all know British summers, don’t we?) or budget changes, being upfront keeps trust levels higher than a crane operator’s lunch spot.
It may seem like a good idea to make grand promises when you want to secure a client, or keep them sweet so they don’t keep hassling you about a project, but, unless you can 100 percent deliver them, it really is not a good idea, and not honest construction business owner would stoop to making idle promises. All it does is annoy the customer and tarnish your reputation as a building company that people can rely on, so it will do far more harm than good in the long term. Promise what you can deliver, and deliver what you promise.
It’s Not Just About the Bricks and Mortar
Sure, your client is invested in their project, but they’re also invested in the journey. Celebrate milestones, empathise with their stress, and remember their little lad’s name. A personal touch in a field as tough as industrial concrete construction can make your service as appealing as a bacon butty on a chilly morning.
Meet and Greet
Construction is not a remote-control industry; it’s about rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in. Regular face-to-face meetings (or video calls, if you can’t leave the site) are essential to build strong relationships. A problem shared over a cuppa can be a problem halved!
Good Old-Fashioned Manners
It’s a golden oldie, but good manners go a long way. A simple ‘thank you’ or ‘please’ is as refreshing as a cold pint after a long, dusty day on-site. And let’s not forget the magic of the timely apology when things go pear-shaped.
Listen Up, Mate
Customers need to be heard, not just managed. Taking the time to listen and understand their concerns, ideas, and feedback is more crucial than a spirit level in a carpenter’s toolbox. Active listening fosters positive relationships and can even lead to a spot of problem-solving innovation.
Embrace Tech, Buddy
And here’s where construction CRM comes into play, chums. A construction Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is like the techie cousin of the foreman. It helps you track customer interactions, organise project details, and automate tasks faster than a plasterer can slap up a wall.
Stick to the Schedule
We all know the saying, ‘time is money’, and in construction, this is truer than a plumb line. Not only does sticking to the schedule as closely as you can – we know that various factors can sometimes make this difficult if not impossible – show respect for your customer’s schedule and budget, keeping them happy, but it can also be a food way to save money and run your business more efficiently if you plan it right too., So, it really is a win-win.
Quality, Not Just Quantity
Delivering top-notch quality is the cornerstone of keeping customer relations rosy. Nobody wants to be stuck with a paint job that peels faster than an onion in a French restaurant or a roof that starts to leak as soon as you’ve left the premises. If you make a point of doing good solid work no matter if it takes you a little longer, then not only will your existing customers be happy, but they will likely recommend you to all of their friends and family who need work done too, and as you know, word of mouth is vital in our trade.
Transparency – Clear as Glass
Construction is a complex business, with multiple stages and numerous hands on deck. It’s easy for the customer to feel lost in the jargon. By being transparent, explaining processes, and answering questions, you can make customers feel part of the project, rather than an outsider.
Resolve Issues Swiftly
Let’s face it; problems do pop up in construction like unexpected potholes. But the thing is, the way in which you handle them can make all the difference to how the customer feels about it all in the end. If you are proactive and you do everything you can to clean up whatever mess you’ve gotten into, then the customer will probably not look upon you any less favorably, whereas, if you don’t take their concerns seriously and take your sweet time doing anything about them, then a bad review is likely coming your way.
Keep Sites Tidy
Remember, a clean site is a safe and efficient site. Nobody wants to see their future home or business looking like a rubbish tip during construction. Keeping a tidy site can, then, go an extremely long way in showing customers your professionalism and respect for their property.
Provide Regular Updates
Construction projects are a significant investment of time and money for customers. Regular updates, even when there’s not much progress, keep anxiety at bay. These little touchpoints can do wonders for customer relations, and ultimately your reviews too.
Just like putting on your safety gear before stepping on-site, being proactive in customer relations can prevent many a mishap. Anticipating needs, addressing potential issues before they blow up, and being prepared for every step of the project will keep your customer relations as strong as steel girders.
The Art of the Follow-Up
The project might be over, but your relationship with the client doesn’t have to be. Post-project follow-ups show customers that you care about more than just the invoice. It could be a quick call to check how things are holding up or a Christmas card. These small gestures keep you in mind for future projects.
Just as the construction industry keeps innovating, so should your customer service. Encourage feedback, learn from it, and keep on improving in every area of your business if you want to keep relations with your customers positive. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day!
So, there you have it, fellow builders! Thirteen top tips to keep your customer relations positive in the construction world. Thirteen top tips to keep your customer relations positive in the construction world. Grab these tips with both hands and start laying the foundations for stronger customer relationships. It won’t happen overnight, but if you are consistent and keep your focus on the customer before all else, pretty soon you will be one of the most loved construction companies around!