Managing your clients and their experience
In 5 simple steps
Watch the video now, or read the transcript below.
Duayne Nine times out of ten, the client is holding the last payment because they don’t have a clue what’s going to happen. Today we are discussing 5 steps we recommend for builders on managing your clients.
1. Managing the Client Experience
Alright Amelia this one’s right down your alley. When it comes to managing your clients and ensuring that your client has a great experience, because ultimately that’s how you want your business to grow, give clients a great experience so they’ll tell more people and you get more work. That’s the best type of work.
What are some of the ways that builders can use systems and processes to better manage the client experience?
Systems and processes are a really interesting one because I don’t think builders would think of them as a means to which to improve their relationship with their client or to improve the whole experience of working with their client. And yet, we’ve seen just what a significant difference they can make when you have these systems and processes in your business, and you’re able to execute them with your client through your project.
2. Managing Client Expectations
So one of the key things is obviously that you can help manage a client’s expectations. Because you can actually show these systems and processes are the way that you do what you do. And you can explain that’s why you do them this way.
And they can get a sense of, okay, well, this is actually something that this builder does all the time, they’ve created a system and process which represents best practice for them. They’ve created something that manages their quality control and their consistency.
And I can see as a client that I can have trust that this is going to be executed according to this system. I can see that this builder has done the work. They’ve invested in themselves and their business to create a regular way with which they do things. I’m not going to have stuff fall through the cracks because somebody hasn’t told somebody something, and something hasn’t been communicated.
It just smooths out so much of the drama that can happen for clients.
I remember having a conversation with one client, a woman that I met, and she just finished building a home. And it was at some event, and I said to her, how did the experience go? And I braced myself for the inevitable, that you do hear in the industry, the horror experience.
And she said, you know, what? There were some hiccups and hurdles, but all in all, the builder really managed our expectations.
3. Managing with Systems
Systems and processes become a really key way to managing expectations and avoiding hiccups. Well that’s something that as builders we don’t generally do, isn’t it? We’re there to build. We don’t understand that we’re there to manage an expectation and to manage the client.
I know myself by implementing all the systems and processes and, and covering everything from all the PAC process, your initial enquiries, and then obviously, there’s the build stuff.
But when it comes to the client, handling your defects and how you hand over the project, clients are blown away when I show them on my iPad in the early stages. “Look, here’s an example of some of the systems we have.”
Because, like you said, most clients wouldn’t be aware of that. And when they see that, oh my God, they’ve got a system. They’re going to manage everything. Setting an expectation is the most important part in building a great relationship.
Most definitely. I think too the benefit of systems and processes is it depersonalises why you’re doing things the way that you are. Because oftentimes clients can feel ‘oh the builder’s just doing this because it suits them right now’. Or ‘they’re too busy to take care of me, so they’re just putting me off’, or ‘they’re doing it this way’.
But if as part of the process of you working with a client and building that relationship with them early in the project through the PAC process, or even if you’ve just come to meet them as part of tendering for their project, you can actually show look, this is what we do, and this is why we do it.
And as I said, we’ve tested and tried this over years. And that’s why we do it this way, all of a sudden, they can see this isn’t about you just being fussy or having a bad day, there is actually a reason for it happening this way.
4. Managing Defects
Managing those client-facing processes is so important. Managing defects is a huge one, because clients firstly don’t necessarily understand what is a defect.
They don’t understand their responsibility in what particular things they might have to do after they take over ownership of the home. They may expect that for the next six months they’ve got a builder on call to come and fix and repair every crack and paint chip and every problem in the project.
And unless they’ve had it explained to them, what managing defects and that whole defect inspection process looks like, and what that looks like both in the lead up to completion and then post completion. You can’t be surprised as a builder if they do assume that you’re just going to come and fix all of these things.
And so for you to sit down with your managing defect system, which of course we include for our builder members inside ELEVATE. You can actually sit down and say look, this is what will happen and you can have that conversation before you sign the contract, which is just amazing.
5. Managing the Process
I got stuck with it so many times. And we hear it a lot now that clients are holding the last payment. And nine times out of ten, the client is holding the last payment because they don’t have a clue what’s going to happen.
But there might be some defects at handover, or they’re worried that something’s going to go wrong with a warranty. So they’re like, ‘oh, I need to hold this money, because what if he doesn’t come back’?
So, having a system that explains to them how the process will be managed, means that when it comes to the end of the job, you’re going to put in your practical completion payment, and you’re going to get paid on time.
Yeah, and I think too, it just elevates the professionalism of the relationship that you have with a client, for a client to see that you actually execute your business in a methodical way that is documented and that you’ve shown this is something that you do and is the process that you use regularly.
It just will completely change the way that a client actually sees you.
And that then means that you have a great opportunity to have a very different relationship with them where they respect and value your time and your expertise far more.
And you become the professional.
Let us know what you think about these 5 steps to managing your clients and your client’s experience. You may also want to check out this article on having great client relationships through setting boundaries https://www.livelifebuild.com/blog/partnerships-great-client-relationship/, or our previous blog “Get Treated Like a Professional Home Builder” which you can read here: /http://www.livelifebuild.com/blog/get-treated-like-a-professional-home-builder/.