Landing big civil engineering projects is often the measure of a construction firm’s victory. But it isn’t as simple as it sounds. Working on a huge project requires a lot of research, discernment, winning the trust of the owner so he’ll hire you to do the job. Then the next thing for you to do is to make sure that you do a quality job and deliver the project on time and within budget so that you can win your client’s true trust. And if you are able to impress your client, then there’s the high chance there that he will tap you to work on another project instead of putting it through another bidding.
Building Solid Relationships and Communication with Your Clients
The profit of construction firms is on a project basis so obviously, more projects mean steady income for them. And the best way to get many projects is to gain a good reputation in the industry. In a previous blog, we mentioned how a fully satisfied client can get you more projects. When you win their full trust, it’s very likely that they’d contact you right away to get the project instead of still going through the bidding process. Since they already know that you do a good job in completing a project without delays and that’s within the budget, they’d want to do more projects with you and gain the same benefits as they last time they worked with you.
This is the biggest reward in putting extra effort to build a good reputation in this industry.
Communication plays a big role in building your reputation and making the client see that you can be trusted. Unfortunately, though, many firms get caught up in the busy nature of the construction process forget to keep good communication with the client about the progress of the project. This often leads to errors in design, change order confusion, workflow issues, and other operational issues that involve the client. Furthermore, poor communication can severely limit a potential opportunity to earn repeat business with the client.
That said, it is important to invest in a good communication channel that will connect you with your client anytime and anywhere. This is where construction management software like Pro Crew Schedule steps in and puts that communication obligation on cruise control.
Improving Communication With Clients
It is important to update the client with every progress you make so that he stays on the same page as you and avoid disputes. Poor communication can lead to losses of up to millions of dollars. Bad communication can also lead to safety hazards that can cause injuries or deaths of your members.
Throughout the years, the industry has been battling with poor communication that has led numerous civil engineering projects to their failure. But thanks to the emergence of construction software, the field is now better connected with the office and then the office with the client.
The importance of communication in construction cannot be understated. If you are struggling with improving your communication with your client – or if you don’t know how to start the connection – there are strategies you can check out that may work in your firm too.
1.First Impression Lasts
This is often true in business relationships, most especially in deals where millions of dollars are at stake. So, establish credibility immediately. Your first meeting with a client should build a foundation of trust. You need to assure them that you are the right person for the job and during the bidding is your chance to do so. Drop the “be humble” mantra this time and make sure you stress out enough all of your strong points. Show them your digital portfolio and explain thoroughly how you were able to achieve your previous successful civil engineering projects. Walking them through your process will let them know your exemplary planning and leadership skills.
If you are a newbie in this industry, then let the project owner know what he gains by hiring you instead of the experienced contractors. Give the client something unique or revolutionary in your process that others are not yet doing. That way, you might just win your first construction project.
2.Avoid Using Industry Jargon When Communicating With Clients
Understand that most of your clients will be businessmen and not necessarily construction experts or engineers. So when you communicate with them, use a language that they will understand so they will know if you are really on the right track. Confusing them with terms like screeding, balloon framing, and backing rods will only start confusion and may severe your communication in the future if you can’t make them understand the progress in layman’s terms.
Furthermore, jargon can destroy an otherwise positive customer experience. There are thousands of terms that seem normal to engineers, contractors, construction subcontractors, and builders that would boggle the mind of any normal person.
3.Choose One Point of Contact
It can be very frustrating for the client to not know who to contact when he sees an issue in the reports he receives. This is usually the problem that occurs between the firm and the client because, as you already know, there are so many parties involved in a single construction project, most especially when a design-bid-build procedure is being followed.
There should be a well-defined internal chain of command as this is important for all teams to function effectively. For the client, though, this can be difficult to understand. Instead, give him a single point of contact that he can reach whenever he needs information from the field or whenever he makes an executive decision that needs to be implemented at the site. It will be beneficial, too, to give him access to your construction software’s cloud where he can easily open important files he needs when reviewing the progress of the project.
4.Visual Technology for Reporting to the Client
Like using jargon, presenting a full-text report to your client may be big guesswork for him. For a person who isn’t an engineer, he might need some visual aids to easily understand what you are reporting.
This is why it is important to invest in good visual technology that you can use during your reporting. Today, we have immersive 3D representations of buildings that don’t exist yet. BIM is a sample of this technology and you can integrate it in a VR or AR tech tool to make the presentation more effective.
The evolution of these technologies has revolutionized the way you can communicate with clients. You can understand your client’s vision and they can understand yours in a way not possible before.
5.Transparency in Your Progress Reports
It is important to impose transparency between you and your client most especially when money is involved. Yes, the building looks nice now that it is near completion but the client couldn’t understand how you arrived with the invoice you submitted. This nasty surprise is bad news for clients and may be bad news for you too when it destroys your relationship with them.
Transparency is a vital ingredient in building your firm’s reputation so you need to record every single detail about your operations. From schedules, plans, actual progress, actual expenses, you should declare them all to your client so he will know where their money is going.
But if your invoice isn’t transparent that’s when the real problem begins. But how can you keep track of every single little cost and every minute of scope creep?
It’s simple. Invest in a dependable construction project management software that does the work for you. Pro Crew Schedule can be your holy grail tool for generating detailed invoices, reports, and everything you need when reporting to your client. Your client should know exactly what they’re paying for so make the communication smooth and present everything without leaving any single detail.
Construction Software in Improving Your Chance to Get Repeat Business
Generating repeat business weighs mainly on the quality of work and the client’s experience with their general contractor. But if you can’t fix your communication channels, your client will struggle to have an enjoyable experience. When they are left hanging, guessing, and constantly crossing their fingers, hoping that things are going well at the site, you are giving them a good reason to not do any future projects with you again.
This is where construction management software like Pro Crew Schedule comes in. It was created to easily track updates, work logs, schedules, photo documentation, subcontractor information, and all kinds of relevant data. Contractors will then be able to walk the client through the operation more effectively, hence building trust that may win them the opportunity for repeat business.