One of the biggest pitfalls to contractors is communication (or lack thereof), and often it begins with your customer not fully-understanding the construction process. With the need for multiple drawing approvals, bids, material lead-times and inspections, jobs can be slow and complex, and while you know this process, your customers don’t, so it is important to take the time and care to fully explain it to them (and yes, do a little hand-holding along the way).
When your customers don’t feel you are properly communicating with them, they can quickly become angry or feel as though you are taking their business (and money) for granted. An unhappy customer can lead to a bitter experience for both of you.
One way to improve communications is by creating content. Content, such as written documents, checklists, charts and videos, can help your customers understand the construction process better.
I recently came across this example of how Scotts Lawn Services division uses content to describe the process of aerating the lawn. While many customers understand the benefits of aeration – to allow oxygen to better circulate under the surface and to enable fertilizers to penetrate more deeply, Scotts was finding that many homeowners weren’t prepared for the ugly aftermath. In fact, customers not familiar with the process were shocked and dismayed, thinking their lawn was ruined.
Scotts took a proactive approach and produced several videos demonstrating the aeration process and then emailed them to customers. They found this avoided misunderstandings and surprises. (Source: Youtulity by Jay Baer, page 114)
It is a matter taking the time to make sure your customers understand the process of [building a home, remodeling a bathroom, aerating the lawn]. Once they know what to expect, it becomes so much easier for both of you.
Help Customers Understand the Process
Ask yourself, “What can I do to help them understand the process better?” Sure, you explain it to them when you first secure the contract, but this can be months before the ground is broken, or weeks before you actually start demolition.
In addition to verbalizing your procedures, also create content that your customers can refer back to, as needed. Here are some ideas:
- An e-book that provides a detailed description of your process from start to finish.
- A series (of short videos or articles) that is automatically emailed when they reach each stage of construction.
- An infographic that shows the timeline of a typical project from start to finish.
- The process explained, in detail, on your website with photos to help them visualize what to expect.
- A special section on your website called “Renovation Survival Tips” that your customers can refer to throughout their project. For example, create a category called “Easy Crockpot Meals” so families don’t feel they have to eat out every night while their kitchen is being remodeled.
The key here is to really think about the ways in which you can help your customer so they have a better understanding of what to expect. This will help them better navigate through the project so it is a pleasant experience.
If you need help creating content around your process(es), contact me. I’d love to help you.