One of the ways you can ensure your construction company’s bright future is to develop the ability to impress the client. And when we say to impress a client, we mean from start to end. During the bidding process, a well-thought-of plan and near to “exact” quotation are what will catch a client’s interest. During the process, your efficient construction crew management, organized operation, regular reporting, staying on schedule, and within the budget are some of the ways to earn his trust. And in the end, the result is what will win his referral.
In short, your success depends on how you meet your client’s expectations!
Clients are very important in growing your business. You have to maintain a good relationship with them to win referrals and repeat business. Impressing your first client is your very ticket to the continuous flow of projects. So when you win a bid, be sure to do everything to deliver what your client wants from you.
That said, it is important to manage your client’s expectations.
Clients do have standards you need to meet. But as the person-in-charge of the operation, you have the power to influence his opinion when his expectations are already becoming impossible.
Overall, it’s hard work to deliver a client’s expectations. But with these 8 steps, you can impress him while making the most out of the project assigned to you:
- Know Your Client
The first step in delivering your client’s expectations is always to know him. You have to know his preferences when it comes to tools, equipment, materials, etc. There are clients who’d say yes to everything you suggest no matter how costly they can be for as long as they are ensured that the result will meet their standards. But there are also those who’d negotiate with you, trying to look for good alternatives. So test his taste and know what kind of client he is. You can never impress him if you won’t discover what he wants.
During the planning phase, be as transparent as you can be. Lay down everything you have in mind. Prepare sets of plans he can choose from. Be detailed so he can understand your point. And don’t forget to get his insights. You need to agree at a certain point so that you can meet his expectations without trying to do the impossible.
- Study the Project
For you to deliver a good plan to your client, you will need to review the project thoroughly. Based on the client’s objectives, set your project goals. From there, develop the plan.
In drafting the plan, you need to keep in mind that a project consists of four essential elements for it to be successful – safety, schedule, budget, and quality. Without one of these four, you can’t deliver what your client wants.
For instance, by trying to meet the budget you declared during the bidding, you’d go with a lower quality or old equipment that can compromise the safety of the workers. Once accidents happen, delays will surely occur. And you already know the consequence of a delayed project – extra costs.
So be wiser when writing the project plan. Like we always suggest, try to review documents of past projects from your project management software and look into the issues you encountered and how you resolved them. This will help you make better decisions in your new project.
Brainstorm with your project team too. Get the opinion of your project engineers, subcontractors, suppliers, foremen, and other stakeholders so you can come up with an effective plan and schedule. You can tap industry experts too who worked on a similar project for their valuable opinion.
And don’t forget to anticipate the future. List down constraints that may affect the construction but are out of your control like weather or sudden change order. Plan for mitigation and contingency. Check your team members for their skills and other capabilities before you delegate roles.
- Quantify Client’s Expectations
After drafting looking into the elements of the project, it’s time to quantify your client’s expectations based on them. Between safety, schedule, budget, and quality, identify the top priority of the client. You can do so by asking the client what he wishes to achieve the most out of the four because there is no construction where all four elements can be prioritized equally. There will always be compromises. When the budget is your client’s focus, then find the most decent resources that are within the set budget. When safety is the priority, then allot some more budget for safety accessories at the site and PPEs. And so on.
After quantifying the client’s expectations, you should plan and schedule resources accordingly. From tools, equipment, material, to workers, you should see to it that they are all planned smartly so that they meet the client’s expectations and your project’s priority.
- Draft an Irresistible Plan
After you review the project to compose an initial plan and identify the priorities of your client, you are now ready to write the plan. We discussed in a previous blog how you can write a good plan. It should include the overview, which discusses the procedure and what to expect as a result. Include the tools, equipment, materials, and other resources needed to complete the project and the methods you’ll use to process them or manage them.
Breakdown the project into milestones so it will be easier for the client to understand the workflow. Draft the schedule too. To help you out, use a construction scheduling software like Pro Crew Schedule to map out the milestones and deadlines in an orderly manner.
And finally, leave room for your client’s feedback. Be ready for revisions so be flexible in writing the project plan. This way, it will be easier for you to adjust the initial plan to meet new expectations.
- Review the Plan with Your Client
Now that you have a plan ready, it’s time to present it to the client. Be sure that all shareholders are present. If not, it could signify poor cooperation from the client’s side, which should be settled before the construction begins. Let them know that for the project to work smoothly and become successful, full cooperation and assistance are needed by the project team.
During the plan review, ask for everything that the client expects from the project team and what they want to see as a project result. If you think that their standards are unreasonable, then let them know. You should know how to say NO. It will put you in a tougher spot when you commit to something that you’re not really sure you can deliver.
Have your main project team join the review, including your engineers, project manager, and senior foremen. Discuss all your concerns and make sure that both the project team and the client are on the same page before closing the meeting so you can already write the final plan.
- Prepare the Final Plan and Share Copies
After deliberating on the final expectations and priorities, the final plan should be written. Be sure to send copies of the plan to the client and his shareholders and to the whole project team.
Use project management software for sharing to be sure that everyone receives the same version of the plan. Using a central space for storing the plan also makes it easier to update everyone at the same time whenever revisions need to be done on the file.
This is also the best timing to meet the project team to discuss strategies before the project finally takes off. Make the crew members accountable for their own tasks so that they will be motivated to do their best and aim for success.
- Benchmark Progress
Now, it’s time to work on the main construction. And to make sure that the team is working on meeting the client’s expectations, the project manager should diligently track progress.
It will be necessary to check on daily accomplishments and make sure that they are aligned with the daily schedule. Doing so will help you measure productivity and estimate the time of finish of every milestone and the entire project.
And to make this possible, you should oblige your crew members to send in their reports before logging off for the day. Choose crew management software to use for tracking and reporting. Using one with a mobile version will be advantageous as it can be easily implemented on the site where computer installations will just mean additional safety hazards.
Remember to set your KPIs so workers can adjust their performance levels to the client’s standards.
- Post-project Evaluation
The project doesn’t end when the construction wraps up. It ends with a post-project debriefing. Here, you go over the project to review everything that was done, issues encountered, solutions that were implemented, and so on. Here, you evaluate whether the methods used and the result meet the client’s expectations.
If you failed to deliver the project within the client’s expectations, trace the root cause, and note what should be done differently on your next project.
If you succeeded, ask yourself whether you are truly proud of the result you achieved. Or do you think you could’ve done it better? If so, what could you have done to achieve a more satisfactory result?
This is the part where lessons learned are realized and a time for judgment as to whether you met the client’s expectations or not.
Trying to satisfy the client with your results requires hard work. And to know how exactly you can deliver his expectation, you should ask the basic questions. Identify the objectives and what the client really wants to achieve. It is from here that you can properly strategize and plan your move. It will definitely be challenging, but when you are able to impress at least one client, then you will earn their precious trust that will give you referrals and more future projects.
Don’t miss your chance to deliver your client’s expectations. Plan smartly and construct efficiently with the help of a reliable project management software. Request a demo of the U.S.’s front runner schedule software Pro Crew Schedule and nail your next construction project.