There is almost nothing more important than your customers’ experiences of working with you. Managing customer expectations determines if you’ll get future work, the money that comes in and, ultimately, if you stay in business.
Customers have expectations about the way you should operate as a business. These include:
- The amount of time a job should takes;
- The ease of communication;
- The level of organisation between suppliers, managers and site workers, and;
- The process of invoicing.
We’ve found that there are some definite roadblocks to achieving customer satisfaction within all of these processes. In order to achieve or, even better, exceed customer expectations, there needs to be an investigation into the ways that companies potentially let down their customers.
4 ways that companies fail their customers’ expectations
1. Time delays
Sometimes, time delays are inevitable. Bad weather could impact your ability to do parts of the job, or circumstances outside of your control could force a temporary shutdown.
But these reasons are in the minority. Usually, time delays are caused by slow processes, such as waiting for paper-based communication to be passed between parties or multiple phone calls to organise a job or to attempt to locate equipment. Sometimes even just lazy workers or miscommunication can affect the time it takes to complete a job.
Ultimately stretching out work time will cost your customer more money, and it may cost you their business.
Miscommunication, whether it be between you and your customer or through subcontractors or partners, occurs through information that hasn’t been relayed appropriately. Communication is usually filtered down through several people, or through paper-based processes that have been lost or scattered across sites. Often communication will also be conducted through email, which becomes very difficult to track and attribute to various customers.
Being able to access all information across your entire organisation is vital, because miscommunication can lead to misunderstandings about the nature of the job, and about work timeframes — which will lead to annoyed customers. It is also essential to follow up on conversations with customers, but this becomes very difficult if you’ve got no way to track who you should be calling and when.
Many companies suffer immensely from a general disorganised approach to managing jobs. Disorganisation can take the form of paper-based systems scattered across multiple sites, or through having multiple systems to log in to. Poor asset management is also a huge source of disorganisation in construction businesses, as it becomes very difficult to track assets on site from somewhere else remote.
There is also often a lack of forced-work flow, so jobs, processes and inductions are done out of order.
4. Invoicing errors
Disparate systems, paper-based processes and bad commination can lead to grey areas within a contract or a job that cause you to have to follow a money trail back through the entire job — which can lead to unpleasant disagreements between contractors and workers and lost invoices and there being no proof of work completed in time. Obviously, issues like this are going to be a major blow to your relationship with your customer and, by extension, your reputation as a company.
Improve your reputation by efficiently managing customer expectations
To regain control of your customers’ expectations, you need to make sure you have efficient and provable processes. If you adopt an integrated digital solution then all of your communications, invoices, and contracts are stored in one easy-to-access system, which makes managing customer expectations simple.
The Kontrol4 digital management solution allows you to implement these changes and to integrate into 3rd party software for ease and clarity of communication with your customers. The Kontrol4 solution also introduces a forced work flow, so you can’t move ahead on a job until you complete the prerequisite processes. This system forces everyone to a clear, formalised and consistent procedure.
Our solution also provides the ability to extract data, to keep customers up to speed with the progress of a job, and to track all communication to a CRM, to aid with billing and invoicing. And even better, our system is designed for mobile first, so it works in the field and while you’re on the go.
With Kontrol4 you can build strong and loyal relationships with your customers, all the while improving your reputation and creating a business that is efficient and ready for future growth.