As a contractor, your home projects won’t always go to plan. A number of factors can cause delays between managing a team and outside vendors, not all of which is entirely within your control.
Understanding your client and making sure they are kept in the loop with the whole building process, even with delays, is integral to the success of your project. It also helps you develop a solid and reputable relationship, which is just as important.
Read on to discover the top five communication mishaps and how best to deal with them.
The Top Five Communication Mishaps
1) Dealing with Delays Incorrectly
When delays occur (which they often do), it’s important from the get-go to establish what kind of delays they are, and what they mean for your client and the future of the build.
Take responsibility for the delay before it causes friction between you and your client. Delays that you or your staff caused through poor workmanship, labour shortage and more, are frustrating for the client unless you’re honest. Also, make your client aware when delays are out of your control. Learn more about how to protect yourself as a builder here.
2) Keeping Lines of Communication Closed
Be open and honest. Let buyers know their options if their home is delayed in construction. Encourage your client to get one of the new home warranties available in Ontario (which is backed by Tarion). These are very comprehensive and include protection for deposits, delays, and three separate construction warranties, lasting up to seven years.
Also, keep lines of communication open. Give your buyers peace of mind and let them know they can trust you.
3) Using Too Much Industry Jargon
Terms that seem normal to you may seem complicated and confusing to your client. Using excessive technical terms and jargon can sometimes destroy an otherwise positive customer experience. It can impede clarity and sometimes come off as condescending or insulting
Make sure you ask your client the right questions, have as many face-to-face conversations as possible to establish rapport and better communication. Explain technical terms in a simpler manner, and don’t make your client feel ashamed to ask if they need clarification on anything.
4) Having More than One Point of Contact
Your client will be frustrated if they do not know who to contact if things go wrong. There are so many people involved within the chain of construction that it sometimes becomes confusing.
Give your client a single point of contact who’ll be willing to feed information both from and to the team and make executive decisions. Establish agreed upon methods for your client to reach them. As well as convenience for your client, it makes them feel more in control and leaves less opportunity for misunderstandings along the way.
5) Not Setting Clear Rules for Communication
All clients have different communication expectations. One client may want constant phone updates. Another may opt for weekly reports via email.
You need to set standards for efficient communication and behaviour. Some questions you can focus on are:
- What channels of communication will you both use?
- How often does the client want updates and reports?
- Who is the key point of contact for the client?
- What information do you need from the client, and when?
- Are there certain hours better than others for contact?
Not all builds run smoothly, however when you face challenges, rest easy in the knowledge that your communication with your client is clear and transparent and that you’re doing everything necessary to keep things progressing.