7 Ways to Exceed Home Improvement Expectations
In this day and age, it’s no longer just about meeting a customer’s expectations, if you truly want to succeed, you should strive to go above and beyond your customer’s expectations on a daily basis. The best way to do this? Through superior customer service and interactions throughout the entire life of a project from start to finish. If you want your business to stand out, here are 5 helpful tips for you to to help you to quickly elevate the level of your customer service.
1. Give bids or estimates immediately electronically
In the digital world we live in today, people expect to get answers to their questions immediately. “Google It” is a common phrase used daily. When you want a fresh meal, just go on your phone and have it ordered. Need a massage? Open the app and have a masseuse come right to your home. So when it comes to garnering a new customer, that prospect will expect to see how you work immediately. Why should the job site be any different? In order to exceed customer expectations it is important to get the bid in early, using as much transparency as possible in the bidding process. There is now an app for that, allowing you to send out bids to prospective clients while you are still standing in the meeting with them, if possible. You will impress your prospective clients, and possibly beat out any competition with speed and the convenience of sending it to whatever channel is most convenient to them, whether it is text, email or instant messaging. If the prospective client does not want to confuse all your messages on the project with personal or work emails or messages, then you have an option for that as well. Having an app, that allows a client exclusive access to their project file, allows notifications to come to you when the client has a change order or needs to communicate something specific to you about the project.
2. Send them updates through their own client file
Just as it was stated above, clients love to feel like they are being cared for in the process of the project. Having a means of sending them consistent updates to their phone or email can make or break a project as well as a client relationship. It may seem minuscule or unimportant to be constantly updating a file or sending messages to their phone daily about the project, but clients do appreciate the ongoing status updates on the construction projects and they love the transparency of always being kept in the loop. It provides them a peace of mind your competitors will not be able to give.
3. Catch Mistakes Before They Are Made or Before it Increases Costs
The biggest detriment to any construction business is making mistakes early on that completely derail the rest of the project. If a major mishap is overlooked in step 1 and the crew continues to grind it out for weeks until step 12, the entire project may need to be canned and starting over from the beginning is a major possibility. Greg Fry writes in his article entitled “10 Most Common Contractor Mistakes” that failure to commit to safety checks and procedures is of the most extreme and costly mistakes to make. With a project management app, you can make and send notes in real time of the project and the potential safety threats to ensure all crew is notified of safety precaution updates at all times. This in turn allows you to steer clear of mistakes that can be costly to your business and reputation.
4. Keep track of all their PO's and other paperwork in the palm of your hand
During the entirety if the project, it is imperative that you keep constant and accurate record of the clients orders and paperwork and have it on file at all times, as stated above. Storing it on your phone and computer and maintain the ability to refer to it at all times to ensure any and all issues and requests are treated with the utmost amount of speed and efficiency. Data synchronization and offline capabilities are key to successful mobile apps, but they are also the key to being able to run your business. Today’s consumers are highly reliant on their mobile applications. If apps don’t work, users won’t use them—it’s that simple. To avoid reliance on wifi, providers of databases and cloud services have added synchronization and offline capabilities to their mobile offerings...just like 3Dazer, you can subscribe to storage space so you can maintain all photos and communications of each project in the palm of your hand.
5. Get change orders immediately
The world today features an unfathomable amount of options, especially when it comes to redoing your home or workspace. When there are so many options, people tend to LOVE to change their minds at the most “convenient” times. Change orders are an inevitable part of working in the home improvement and general construction industry. You’ve probably had to deal with them at some point on every project and will continue to have to handle them on the next project. When change orders aren’t managed well, it can quickly delay the success of a project. Increased project costs, delays in hitting contract milestones, interruption of workflow, and not completing a project on time are some of the issues that can be caused by not addressing and resolving change order issues immediately once they are received. Being able to effectively manage change orders doesn’t have to be difficult, in fact, there is an app for that!
It’s important to communicate and have an open dialogue with the client, subcontractors, vendors, and any other affected manufacturers when a change order is coming.
Communicate with your client of any work that needs to be stopped as a result of the changes and discuss any delays or schedule changes that need to be made. Make sure that all labor, material, and equipment needs are accounted for in the change order whether the new work being required will negatively impact any work already completed.
6. Provide daily photos of the work in progress via their own project file
Lastly, if you can give photo updates to clients in order to give them a clear and accurate idea of the state of the project, you may have just won over a client for life. You may not want to take the time to provide your customer with information regarding manpower, work done in specific areas, deliveries, near misses, any hindrances or any quality non-compliance, some of which can not be taken of with a smartphone camera, but the client will like the updates and with an app like 3Dazer pro, it is easy and fast. Before you consider this to be some sort of torture moment as a nasty tool for being controlled by your customer and as a miserable routine imposed upon a construction rookie, take a breath. Your attitude will suddenly changed after your first meeting, after construction begins with the client when you have explain why we you were delayed with the installation of their plumbing components, thereby extending the completion deadline on the project by 2 weeks. The answer may seem simple: How could you install a massive pipe from the main bathroom when the concrete slab where it supposed to sit on was not completed? Now you can pull out the daily report from your phone, show where you emailed the client this information a few months prior, from their project file, and use that daily progress report to your benefit...again, all from your smartphone, right in the meeting. The app will allow you to present a series of documents that showed your daily progress of work and hurdles that were holding you back from staying on schedule. This allows you to provide specific dates when specific issues happened and when they were communicated to the customer - just in case they forgot
It is a good policy in any profession to track the progress of a project. Maybe your construction project runs without any delays and you don’t have to protect your company from potential disputes or claims. Maybe your relationship with the client is great and everyone does their job on time and you all trust each other. What happens when a key person on the job has to walk away from your team, half way through the job, or worse, when the customer changes their management style and decides the wife will make all the decisions now? All the verbal agreements and decisions will be gone. New people will only see what is ordered on paper unless you have a way to track the daily progress. People love to visually see what is happening and it allows them to feel more involved in the process. On the next big project you have, give this a try and see how much it shows the customer you care and are invested in them and in the project!
7. Communicate and Build Trust
Clear communication is a tenet of any good solid relationship, be it personal or professional. In the case of construction projects, communication doesn't start after the bid is accepted and the contract is signed. Rather, it begins from the very first time you meet with the clients to discuss the project so you have the ability to bid fairly and accurately, making sure you have a clear understanding of their expectations right from the start. Then once you’ve landed the accounts, keep detailed tabs on the project and store all customer/vendor info right on your app. Be sure to select a primary mode of communication when you begin. Start by finding out which mode of communication makes the most sense for the client. If the clients are older, odds are telephone conversations will be the preferred method whereas the younger generation typically prefers text. However, if you are working with clients that prefer phone call, we recommend keeping project progress with photos, comments, tags and files, so the client feels more transparency than expected. If phone calls are the primary source, major decisions and/or changes should always be followed up with an email or from sharing the file update from the app so there is a written record of the conversation/decision. Visual communication is often as important, if not more important, than verbal communication. Many construction professionals forget how difficult it can be for non-industry professionals to read or makes sense of two-dimensional plans and elevations. Therefore, provide the client with a better representation of what you are talking about. The more clearly they can see what you are suggesting, the less confusion, disappointment and/or change orders there will be as the project progresses.
As you can see, it is imperative to implement the use of an App that can improve the way in which you manage your construction business. Customers want to see innovation not only in the quality of your work, but also the way in which you go about your work! Using cutting edge technology is one surefire way to make customers pleased with your construction business, referring friends and coming back for more!