About the Author
By Jenna Guy Tuesday, September 15, 2020
As a home builder, you know what goes into good construction. But what goes into building a good workday for you? A key part of the process is efficient, effective client communication.
Happy clients are critical to your business and a good reputation is essential for new business growth. Many of your leads probably come from word of mouth, so it’s in your best interest to ensure your clients are satisfied.
That being said, you also need a work-life balance. Your days and nights shouldn’t be spent in the office going back and forth with clients. The good news is that it’s possible to keep clients happy without making yourself available 24/7.
You want to keep your clients happy, but if you’re anything like us, you know that client communication can quickly spiral out of control with one-off emails and phone calls.
Our advice? Establish a regular cadence for communication. We like weekly status updates because clients know when to expect them and they address most of the questions clients will have. How much progress was made on the build this week? Is that wall sheetrocked? How does the master bathroom look? Include all of these details in your weekly progress report and say goodbye to length phone calls at odd hours.
What’s better than a weekly progress report? Real-time updates. With a construction project management app, you can give your clients immediate access to changes and progress as it’s made. You control what the client has access to, so you can keep them in the loop without compromising your security.
There may be emergencies when you need to respond quickly. In these instances, like when a customer notices a mistake at the site, time matters. Try to respond within the hour. Lack of communication is a leading cause of poor customer experience, and 78% of customers have bailed on an intended transaction because of a poor experience (Source: GetFeedback).
Happy clients are crucial to your reputation as a builder. Wondering how to leave clients with a smile? Surprising and delighting your clients includes things both big and small. The key is to put yourself in their position and treat them as you would want to be treated.
It can be as simple as giving your clients access to photos for selections. Let your clients visualize what their selections look like in a Pinterest-style photo board. Add a personal touch and give them input throughout the process. Learn about their needs and reflect that understanding back to them throughout the process. Show them ways to maximize their budgets and the value of their investments. Clients appreciate the opportunity to be heard and to make the home a reflection of themselves. The last thing they want is to be sidelined in a process that results in a cookie-cutter design.
Or it could be something as big as holding a well-executed site visit that leaves your client feeling satisfied with the progress of the build and excited to share your great work with their network.
Clients choose home builders and remodelers not just for the particular homes they build or even the specific model they have chosen, but also for the expertise the sales staff, project managers, and builders bring to the table. They want to know the people they’ve chosen to work with are experts and in control of the process. Assure them that they are in good hands by answering their questions thoughtfully. Anticipate questions ahead of time so that you don’t get caught off-guard.
One of the fastest ways to hurt your credibility is to over-promise and under-deliver. Understand the things that can extend timeframes so that you don’t get caught making promises you can’t keep. Be extremely detail-oriented, too. You don’t want to miss a change order for a kitchen island or wind up footing the cost for a jetted tub because you misunderstood the customer’s intentions.
Now that social media gives so much voice to the consumer, it’s really important that you don’t commit any gaffes that could cost your company business. If you do make a mistake, however, don’t try to hide it. Be clear and transparent.
Up to 70% of unhappy customers transform into loyal customers if the mistake has been fixed exceeding their expectations (Source: Constant Contact). And 68% of customers leave brands because they are upset with the treatment they have received (Source: MyFeelBack). Even worse, 48% of customers who had a negative experience told 10 or more others (Source: InsightSquared). Getting ahead of a bad situation can end up paying dividends in the long run.
Change orders shouldn’t cause you or your clients grief. They’re inevitable and more importantly, if they’re well-executed, they can be a great way to increase client satisfaction and your profit margins.
One of the best ways to streamline your change order process and reduce the possibility of mistakes is with digital change orders. Now, clients can approve change orders instantly, from anywhere. Plus, when change orders are approved, selections are automatically updated in your construction project management software. This keeps all trades updated on what the client wants and results in less double entry and more accuracy for you.
Grow your business organically through referrals. To do this, you’ve got to build stellar quality homes, honor warranties, and keep in communication with your past customers. Make them feel important and valued. Engage with them through multiple channels, including social media. Let them know that their satisfaction matters to you with periodic calls, mailers, and birthday messages.
As a home builder, you’re used to a lot of moving parts. Even so, it’s still a challenge to execute change orders on the fly. Download our tip sheet for custom home builders and remodelers for tips on effectively managing change orders.
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About the Author
Jenna Guy is the Demand Generation Manager for the Residential Home Construction division of ECI, responsible for planning, organizing, and activating marketing programs for lead generation. A digital marketer with experience in content creation and inbound marketing, Jenna began her career in marketing after completing her Master’s degree in English Literature.
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