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How to Guarantee Client Satisfaction and Improve Your Reputation

As a home builder, you know what goes into good construction. But what goes into building a good workday for you? A key part of the process is efficient, effective client communication.

Happy clients are critical to your business and a good reputation is essential for new business growth. Many of your leads probably come from word of mouth, so it’s in your best interest to ensure your clients are satisfied.

That being said, you also need work-life balance. Your days and nights shouldn’t be spent in the office going back and forth with clients. The good news is that it’s possible to keep clients happy without making yourself available 24/7.impr

1. Get proactive on client communication 

You want to keep your clients happy, but if you’re anything like us, you know that client communication can quickly spiral out of control with one-off emails and phone calls.

Our advice? Establish a regular cadence for communication. We like weekly status updates because clients know when to expect them and they address most of the questions clients will have. How much progress was made on the build this week? Is that wall sheetrocked? How does the master bathroom look? Include all of these details in your weekly progress report and say goodbye to length phone calls at odd hours.

What’s better than a weekly progress report? Real-time updates. With a construction project management app, you can give your clients immediate access to changes and progress as it’s made. You control what the client has access to, so you can keep them in the loop without compromising your security.

There may be emergencies when you need to respond quickly. In these instances, like when a customer notices a mistake at the site, time matters. Try to respond within the hour. Lack of communication is a leading cause of poor customer experience, and 78% of customers have bailed on an intended transaction because of a poor experience (Source: GetFeedback).

2. Surprise and delight clients

Happy clients are crucial to your reputation as a builder. Wondering how to leave clients with a smile? Surprising and delighting your clients includes things both big and small. The key is to put yourself in their position and treat them as you would want to be treated.

It can be as simple as giving your clients access to photos for selections. Let your clients visualize what their selections look like in a Pinterest-style photo board. Add a personal touch and give them input throughout the process. Learn about their needs and reflect that understanding back to them throughout the process. Show them ways to maximize their budgets and the value of their investments. Clients appreciate the opportunity to be heard and to make the home a reflection of themselves. The last thing they want is to be sidelined in a process that results in a cookie cutter design.

Or it could be something as big as holding a well-executed site visit that leaves your client feeling satisfied with the progress of the build and excited to share your great work with their network.

3. Be decisive and authoritative

Clients choose home builders and remodelers not just for the particular homes they build or even the specific model they have chosen, but also for the expertise the sales staff, project managers, and builders bring to the table. They want to know the people they’ve chosen to work with are experts and in control of the process. Assure them that they are in good hands by answering their questions thoughtfully. Anticipate questions ahead of time so that you don’t get caught off-guard.

One of the fastest ways to hurt your credibility is to over-promise and under-deliver. Understand the things that can extend timeframes so that you don’t get caught making promises you can’t keep. Be extremely detail-oriented, too. You don’t want to miss a change order for a kitchen island or wind up footing the cost for a jetted tub because you misunderstood the customer’s intentions.

Now that social media gives so much voice to the consumer, it’s really important that you don’t commit any gaffes that could cost your company business. If you do make a mistake, however, don’t try to hide it. Be clear and transparent.

Up to 70% of unhappy customers transform into loyal customers if the mistake has been fixed exceeding their expectations (Source: Constant Contact). And 68% of customers leave brands because they are upset with the treatment they have received (Source: MyFeelBack). Even worse, 48% of customers who had a negative experience told 10 or more others (Source: InsightSquared). Getting ahead of a bad situation can end up paying dividends in the long run.

4. Stay ahead of the curve on change orders

Change orders shouldn’t cause you or your clients grief. They’re inevitable and more importantly, if they’re well-executed, they can be a great way to increase client satisfaction and your profit margins.

One of the best ways to streamline your change order process and reduce the possibility for mistakes is with digital change orders. Now, clients can approve change orders instantly, from anywhere. Plus, when change orders are approved, selections are automatically updated in your construction project management software. This keeps all trades updated on what the client wants and results in less double entry and more accuracy for you.

5. Keep in contact after the sale

Grow your business organically through referrals. To do this, you’ve got to build stellar quality homes, honor warranties, and keep in communication with your past customers. Make them feel important and valued. Engage with them through multiple channels, including social media. Let them know that their satisfaction matters to you with periodic calls, mailers, and birthday messages.

What’s the missing link in your change order process?

As a home builder, you’re used to a lot of moving parts. Even so, it’s still a challenge to execute change orders on the fly. Download our tip sheet for custom home builders and remodelers for tips on effectively managing change orders.  


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How to Set Proper Expectations with Clients

Change orders shouldn’t be the bane of your existence as a builder, but they often are. A single change order that falls through the cracks or one misunderstanding with a client could end up costing you. In the custom home building and remodeling space, you could be dealing with tens of thousands of dollars in lost profits.

It’s inevitable, change orders are going to happen. But the good news is they don’t have to be bad experiences. Instead of cursing every time a change order comes in, relax and set yourself up to save time and money while boosting your reputation as the builder who is easy to work with.

Here are six pro tips from experts in the industry who have been managing change orders for decades:

1. Bad News Does Not Get Easier with Time

Your clients probably dislike change orders almost as much as you. In their minds, it means their dream home just got more expensive. Even though you don’t relish the thought of having a tough conversation about money with your client, putting it off will only make things worse.

If your change order is the result of unexpected circumstances, weather-related costs, or something simply out of your control, don’t avoid it. Confirm the project scope, document it thoroughly, and present it to your client quickly. Don’t fear the change order. Deal with it.

2. Be Ready at Any Given Moment

So your client just changed the color of the bathroom tiles from beige to sand. Don’t make the mistake of mentally logging this away for later, no matter how confident you are in your ability to recall the smallest details. Get it in writing immediately while the conversation is still fresh!

If you’re keeping track of details for your job in anything that you can’t keep within arm’s length at any given time (so, basically, if it’s not your phone or tablet) you’re likely to miss things or have things fall through the cracks. At any given moment, you should be ready to grab your phone and punch in new information immediately.

3. Get a Signature

By recording information while the client is still in front of you, you can avoid that sticky and potentially expensive situation when the client says, “I said tan, not sand!” Don’t put yourself in a situation where it’s your word versus your client’s word. Get a signature before you let the conversation end.

If they see a progress photo and want to make a change remotely, no problem. You can issue a change order from a construction management app and get your client to sign off electronically. This makes everything black and white, eliminating any gray area that could potentially harm your relationship with your client or even damage your reputation.

4. Adjust on the Go

Now that the change order has been made, any number of details could need adjusting. If you’re keeping track of schedules, budget, delivery dates, and installations in a notebook, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Project management software is designed to accelerate the momentum of your job, so a change order doesn’t end up monopolizing your time.

Let the software do the adjusting for you. It locks in your change order, adjusts the budget and schedule automatically, and gives you the ability to notify everyone who will be affected by this change with the touch of a button.

5. Communicate Quickly

Your whole crew needs access to the most up-to-date info for your job, and you need to be able to confirm that they’ve seen and understood the change. With a construction project management solution, automated notifications and confirmations make sure you don’t get stuck on the phone all day calling eight different people to tell them the same thing.

With the right software you can save yourself half a day of adjusting and calling around, and you be confident that the message has reached all the right people with simple confirmations from the recipient.

6. Make Sure You Have the Right Tools

Even seasoned builders fall into bad habits because they’re busy. Doing it the right way takes time, but it doesn’t have to take that long. Having the right tools to get the job done quickly and effectively is critical.

Technology can be a game-changer, especially when it’s designed for your industry by builders who understand your everyday needs. A construction project management app can save you from messy situations, forgetting small but important details, and spending all your time repeating simple updates to your team.

You can cross all these best practices off your list with construction project management software. Once you have a tool in place, you can save yourself countless hours of adjustments, phone calls, and headaches.

We put together our Custom Builder’s Toolkit to help you handle situations just like this. Download our free tip sheet on effective change order management to find out how a construction project management app can simplify change orders, so you no longer have to worry when they inevitably come in.


Don’t miss anything from BuildTools! Follow us on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. 

As a home builder, you know what goes into good construction.

But what goes into building a good workday for you?

One key part of the process? Efficient, effective client communication.

You need happy clients – a good reputation is fertile ground for new business growth. If your company leaves a wake of overjoyed customers in its path, word will get around that you are the right builder for the job.

And you also need work-life balance, and a day that isn’t spent in the office when your time would be better spent on the job site.

Is it possible to keep clients happy efficiently? While there’s no magic fix, here are three key communication steps that successful builders take.

1. Get Proactive on Client Communication 

You want to keep your clients happy. But if you’re anything like us, you know that client communication can quickly spiral out of control with one-off emails and phone calls.

Our advice? Establish a regular cadence for communication. We like weekly status updates, because clients know when to expect them, and they address most of the questions clients will reach out to you with. How much progress was made on the build this week? Is that wall sheetrocked? How does the master bathroom look? Include all these details in your weekly progress report.

What’s better than a weekly progress report? Real time updates. With a construction project management app, you can give your clients immediate access to changes and progress – as it’s made. You control what the client has access to, so you can keep them in the loop without compromising your security.

2. Surprise and Delight Clients

Happy clients are invaluable for your reputation as a builder. Wondering how to leave clients with a smile?

Surprising and delighting your clients includes things both big and small.

It can be as simple as giving your clients access to photos for selections. Let your clients visualize what their selections look like in a Pinterest-style photo board.

And it can be as big as a flawlessly-executed site visit that leaves your client feeling satisfied with the progress of the build and excited to share your great work with their network. (Need help prepping for homeowner site visits? Check out our guide to success before, during, and after your client gets on-site.)

3. Stay Ahead of the Curve on Change Orders

Change orders. Not a four letter word. They’re inevitable – and more importantly, if they’re well executed, they can be a great way to increase client satisfaction and your profit margins.

One of the best ways to streamline your change order process? Digital change orders. Now, clients can approve change orders instantly, from anywhere. Plus, when change orders are approved, selections are automatically updated in your construction project management software, which means less double entry and more accuracy for you.

What’s the Missing Link in Your Change Order Process?

As a homebuilder, you’re used to change orders. That being said, it’s still a challenge to execute them on the fly.

Cross off the 7 key elements on our change order checklist to keep your clients and your bank account happy.