Excellent customer service takes into consideration the specifics of each industry. People have different expectations from every type of business they interact with, and it is customer service specialists who can establish the parameters of efficient and satisfying collaboration. In the construction industry, where every project consumes a lot of resources, a misunderstanding between a client and a contractor can be costly. Thus, good customer service is imperative.
In this article, we’ll discuss various strategies that can improve customer service and help businesses operating in the construction industry gain and retain clients.
Maintain Clear and Concise Communication
Many clients feel intimidated by unknown engineering or construction terms when discussing their project. The role of customer service is to be a liaison between experts and laypersons. This means being able to explain to the client in clear and simple language all the details of the project, so there isn’t any chance of confusion.
Any misunderstanding that causes the project to get derailed can cost both money and time. There is also the danger of losing the client’s trust, so the importance of clear communication cannot be overestimated. An effective way to check whether the client has understood exactly what the project entails every step of the way is to ask them to repeat back their interpretation of what has been said.
Give Clients Regular Updates
Since construction and engineering projects need a lot of time to get from concept to completion, a client will appreciate getting regular updates about the progress, or about any changes in the schedule. Customer service can make specific calls to confirm to the client that the company is on time with the delivery, can stay within the budget and can meet all the expectations regarding the project. These positive updates inspire confidence and can lay thus the foundation for a solid, long-term relationship with the client.
With decades of experience, some construction or civil engineering companies can make accurate timeline predictions even for the most complex projects. This is a key component of their reputation and shows that they respect the client’s time and vision. In this case, regular updates from customer service act as reminders of the company’s professionalism and can strengthen the relationship between client and contractor.
Treat Each Client as A Priority
Although a reputable company treats all clients with the same care, it is the duty of customer service to make each of them feel special. Achieving this is not as difficult as it sounds. All it takes is listening to the client carefully and demonstrating a thorough knowledge of all the historical details of the project. Don’t make the client explain his issues twice. Each new conversation should continue the previous one, so the client can feel that all his words are taken into consideration.
To ensure a sense of continuity in the correspondence, the whole customer service team must have easy, real-time access to complete and accurate information about each project. By having an overview of all the project’s details, including past milestones, goals or obstacles, customer service can reassure the client that all his requests, questions or doubts are a priority. Additionally, with easy access to the history of the relationship, customer service can solve problems promptly or at least provide reliable updates quickly.
Avoid Unrealistic Promises
The best strategy for developing long-term relationships with clients is to strive to make realistic promises and then surpass expectations. Unrealistic promises lead to disappointment, which can damage the business relationship. Disappointed clients don’t return. Since gaining new clients often requires more resources than retaining existing ones, it’s a good business practice to deliver more than promised.
How can customer service make realistic promises when dealing with clients in the construction industry? An example of an efficient strategy is avoiding strict promises about deadlines unless there is a 100% certainty that the company can follow the schedule accordingly. Some construction or civil engineering companies work with sub-contractors, which adds a layer of risk. The clients must be aware of all the risks, so they can adjust their expectations.
Ask for Feedback
A key way to improve customer service and make clients feel valued at the same time is to ask for feedback on the services provided, and also on the quality of the interaction. Giving a client the chance to voice opinions or recommendations can help identify weaknesses in the current approach.
Since businesses in the construction industry work with individuals, private companies, or large public sector clients, it’s impossible to have the same type of client interaction each time. Although negative reviews and criticism are unpleasant, they can show if there are common issues that clients have faced in the past and which need a prompt fix.
When launching projects in the construction industry, many clients fear that contractors will not adhere to the schedule or will go over the budget. Customer service has the role to reassure clients that the contractors can respect their wishes and demands. In addition, customer service can help minimize the risk of disagreement between client and business, ensuring that the business will not see as a low priority something that the client considers a high priority.
Customer service makes sure that everyone is one the same page, and this comes with numerous benefits. In the construction industry, good customer service leads to client loyalty, more business, quicker project approvals and fewer delays. Satisfied clients return with new projects because most of them prefer to work with a company they already know and trust. They are also likely to recommend the company to others. Happy clients bring thus more business and help the company thrive.
Good customer service also gives a business a competitive edge; excellent customer service is a good reason on its own for clients to prefer a company over a similar one. Clients want to be listened to. They want their vision of the project to materialise with as little hassle as possible. For this to happen, quality customer service is essential.