The construction industry is a highly volatile and competitive business environment where many factors can contribute to your downfall. With overall customer satisfaction levels lagging behind other industries, modern construction companies are working extra hard to build strong client relationships, develop a positive reputation, and listen to constructive feedback.
While the average person is rarely familiar with difficulties in complex projects, and maintaining a coherent construction team, schedule changes are not as infuriating when a construction firm remains honest and ensures constant communication. Bad feedback is far more destructive when a project is rushed, resulting in poor quality constructions; therefore many clients prefer a delayed but a quality project that meets customer expectations.
Still, each construction project is a unique and complex process that gives even the best project management specialists severe headaches. In this guide, we cover the 7 key strategies used by construction companies to guarantee customer satisfaction, repeat business, and meet client expectations. Here you will find out why so many commercial projects have disappointed clients, and what criteria guarantee a successful business-to-client relationship.
What is customer satisfaction in construction?
Unlike with many other industries, professional pleasantries are not the top priority in construction work. As we study successful projects, a genuine and positive review focuses on open-line communication between the client and the construction company. Everything revolves around realistic deadlines, and how quickly a project manager can identify areas that could cause delays and budget increases.
While finding satisfied clients is not exactly catching lightning in a bottle, disappointment is a common theme for many construction projects. Most great customer service reviews accredit the project’s success to honesty and flexibility – two main factors that ensure effective communication.
With improved construction customer satisfaction, the construction business has a far greater chance of finding new clients and receiving positive marketing via online reviews. For projects that often end up in disappointing results, there is no bigger honour than receiving praise from happy customers, which quickly attracts more business.
Low customer satisfaction in the construction industry
If project management and customer service teams treat construction clients the same way as customers in any other industry, low client satisfaction scores are rarely surprising. Even a simple construction project has so many moving parts and dependencies that most promises get shattered and deadlines delayed, sometimes due to factors that are outside the control of construction firms.
To achieve long-term success and build strong relationships, construction companies need to find a unique approach that highlights their expertise and honesty and avoid guarantees, even for simple tasks in any given project.
Key strategies for a construction company
Here they have the top strategies that will help construction companies get into the right mindset and approach for business-to-client relationships in such an unpredictable industry. Keep reading to identify the main pain points for potential clients and use this knowledge to adopt good business practices.
2. Clear and versatile customer service
For construction projects, excellent customer service stems from honesty, versatility, and attention to detail. While it may be tempting to attract customers with unobtainable client expectations, transparency and realistic goals are good business practices that will lead you to success.
While selling yourself is an important aspect of all business, quality customer service for a construction company revolves around simple language and clarity. To ensure clear and versatile customer service, follow these principles:
- Customer support training. Other industries may get away with under-trained staff for client support, but that cannot be the case for construction companies. Make sure to employ trained representatives who possess key customer service skills and can provide a detailed overview of your project, make changes, and even provide information on helpful features for necessary adjustments on the fly.
- Good website management. Answering frequently asked questions (FAQ), posting a blog post, and providing visible customer reviews on your website a great ways to improve customer service without additional employees. If your page has an intuitive structure and clients can quickly find answers on FAQs, customer service representatives can focus on unique solutions for client problems
- Flexible communication. Another crucial factor for improving customer experience focuses on offering an optimal communication channel for your clients. Phone support and face-to-face meetings have been the most popular options for many decades. However, some customers prefer email communication and live chat, as they feel it gives them a more comfortable format to address all issues. The best construction companies manage to exceed client expectations by providing insights on the project via mobile apps and facility management software.
- Use simple language. Even for complex construction projects, communication through concepts that are easy to understand is essential, even for experienced customers. While some clients feel better when showered with complicated terminology, the key marker of a knowledgeable employee is the ability to switch to simple communication. Nothing screams “good customer service” like a skilled worker who can explain complex construction concepts in layman’s terms.
2. Underpromise, overdeliver
Overpromising is a common marketing strategy for industries where the production of goods and services rarely feels unsatisfactory. If you are running a new business, this approach can be very tempting and effective in attracting new companies.
In construction, this mentality leads to poor execution, delay, and in worst cases – poor-quality construction that will negatively affect the client for many years to come. The best and most experienced companies attract new customers and improve customer satisfaction through brutal honesty and solid results.
By promising too much in a short period of time, a construction company can lead itself to ruin. If the project is not finished in time, and the end result is far from an envisioned promise, a client may refuse to pay the full price, which can financially decimate your company or ruin your reputation via poor customer feedback.
A construction company that underpromises the end result can focus on the execution of the plan without extra pressure. Happy clients come from the delivery of quality services, even if the process takes longer than expected. Then, if everything goes smoothly, the client will be surprised and overjoyed with a better end result, unaffected by restless anticipation.
3. Set realistic goals
If the initial business-to-client interaction is approached with modesty and humility, a construction company ensures a high-level customer experience by setting realistic goals with detailed initial estimates. By providing extra information, including potential challenges and costs within every step, a project manager can improve customer satisfaction, with sufficient, logical reasons for changes and delays.
When a client is informed and aware of all potential challenges, the construction process will not be seen with rose-coloured glasses – toxic optimism that leads to disappointing results. With achievable yet adjustable expectations, customers appreciate staying in the loop and become more sympathetic to the potential issues in the process.
4. Give transparent updates on the project timeline
Speaking of staying in the loop, the best way to combine the previously mentioned steps and ensure good customer service lies in the frequency of communication. To leave a lasting impression and stand out from competitors, construction companies give frequent and transparent updates on the project timeline, even if the client is not asking for it.
To achieve this goal, choose an appropriate communication method to deliver updates. By default, email communication is perfect for this goal, as it does not disrupt the day of the client with non-urgent matters. Still, the key to ensuring customer satisfaction comes from going the extra mile to prove dedication, so make sure to provide additional communication methods for these updates or even a way to opt out of this feature.
Honesty and transparency set your company up for success in business-to-client communication. If you give frequent updates and inform about delays or extra costs ahead of time, clients who stay informed throughout the entire process are more likely to appreciate the efforts and handle bad news with logic and grace.
Frequent updates also give customers more opportunities to steer the project and have the final say in problem-solving. Such treatment instils the ultimate respect and dedication for the client, which leads to customer retention and a high level of satisfaction.
If this key aspect is effectively implemented, the process that usually disappoints clients becomes a strength that highlights the proficiency of your construction company. Instead of focusing on the negatives, customers appreciate the extra involvement that guarantees a satisfactory end result.
5. Invest in equipment for future projects
In an industry full of ruthless competitors, a construction company with masterful customer service and communication will always lose to rivals with better heavy equipment. To keep the work site as productive as possible, make sure to invest the bulk of your budget in buying and maintaining construction machinery, as well as employee training for the safe and efficient use of industrial equipment.
Excavators, motor graders, dump trucks, and wheel loaders are the most commonly used machines for construction projects. Earthmoving, landscaping, and material transportation are key processes that are too slow or near impossible without heavy-duty machines.
For less common and difficult projects that need to depend on excavation, tunnelling, and transforming of rough terrain or underground spaces, rock bolters, miners, and bulldozers are essential machines that make or break the entire construction process. These industrial vehicles are very expensive, but they allow your company to work on more intricate projects and make money.
A modern work site is very dependent on special equipment; thus any sign of significant damage can set back the project for many days. To avoid these issues, the best construction companies employ equipment managers and skilled technicians to oversee the maintenance of all vehicles. Also, with modern solutions like heavy equipment software, employees can check the state of machines through an intuitive user interface.
To keep the equipment in top condition, here is a basic framework for heavy equipment maintenance steps:
- Machine cleaning: Inspect equipment for damages, and clean the dust, dirt, and other contaminants from main components.
- Scheduled servicing: Split maintenance tasks by frequency and priority and create suitable servicing intervals for each machine
- Fluid management: check and refill fluid levels, keep the belts, bearings, and other key points lubricated
- Follow the manufacturer’s manual: Check or replace machine components and adjust servicing times based on recommendations in the provided documentation.
With a proper servicing plan, any damages to components get caught before affecting other plans. A thorough maintenance schedule will keep your machines running for many years with little changes to operation efficiency and fuel consumption. A well-serviced machine is often stronger and more reliable than a whole brigade of workers, especially if it is controlled by a skilled operator. By maximising operation hours and taking good care of all vehicles, construction companies will meet deadlines a lot more consistently.
6. Offer personal recommendations
If clients are already convinced by your expertise, and a strong relationship starts to form, make sure to offer alternative outcomes and personal recommendations, even in situations where the project does not face many roadblocks.
To make these suggestions and avoid a condescending tone in communication, implement these recommendations into detailed updates and notify clients about any changes in predicted time estimates. If clients have their own suggestions, try to provide detailed insight into how recommended changes will affect the outcome of your project.
7. Quality assurance
A common concern for construction company clients is quality control. In cases where customers cooperate with new businesses, projects do not provide quality guarantees for high-quality work.
Quality assurance steps save the client from a lot of stress and anxiety, ensuring higher customer satisfaction. Experienced contractors have a big advantage in this department because positive reviews from prior clients are a powerful vote of confidence.
If your construction company does not have such luxury, fall to prior steps on clear communication and transparency. For extra clearance, create detailed contracts that specify the scope of your project, used materials, and quality standards. Then, make sure to add photos, videos, or other documentation, and schedule regular reports to continue building trust with your client. Use payment withholding, and add quality assurance clauses to show customers that you are legally bound to deliver a quality product or face consequences. When a customer sees that a construction company has no other option but to ensure the quality of built structures and used materials, a strong, and long-lasting partnership begins to form.
With these 7 key strategies, modern construction companies improve customer service in an unpredictable business environment. Employing them is a good business practice that breaks stereotypes and helps your company achieve the highest level of construction customer satisfaction.