No builder wants a customer to have a bad experience, but sometimes it happens anyway. However, it should be a primary goal to minimize conflict before it happens. The homebuilder client relationship is filled with complexities, but the best way to avoid complaints or even a potential lawsuit is to manage customer expectations. We’ll show you five homebuilder client expectations tactics to help your business accomplish this.
1. Bolster the Homebuilder Client Relationship with Good Communication
Good communication starts with making sure your sales contract goes into exhaustive detail about the scope of the job, but it doesn’t end there. Make sure to define warranty information, the materials that you use, subcontractors that may be involved and more. At regular intervals throughout the process, check with your customer to make sure they understand what is happening and that they are pleased with the project. This allows you to identify your customer’s pain points and eliminate them before they become a full-blown crisis.
2. Manage Internal Communications
The customer is likely unaware of the things that are happening within your own business, but inefficiency within your business will quickly become apparent if the job proceeds in a disorganized manner, or if there are unnecessary delays on the project. For instance, if your project is nearing completion and contractors are rushing to paint the interior just as soon as the drywall is in place, then the walls may end up with a sub-par finish, which will lead to customer complaints. Instead, meet customer expectations by making sure that your entire team, subcontractors included, know exactly what jobs will need to be done, and when to complete them.
3. Client Expectations Are Often Based on Your Public Image
As a homebuilder, you almost certainly have a professional website along with advertisements running in newspapers, magazines and elsewhere. These things tell customers a lot about who you are, and even though at first glance, your public image looks amazing, it may have a negative impact on customer expectations.
Consider what a customer thinks when they read wild claims such as “We are the best in the business,” or “Our steel structures are the most durable you’ll find.” For a potential customer, this sets extremely high expectations, which sets them up for larger disappointment later on. They may not understand, for instance, that even though the steel structure you’ve built is durable, it still has a few maintenance needs that the client must take care of to ensure the structure’s longevity.
4. Keeping Expectations Realistic
This ties into the last topic, but goes a lot deeper than managing your public image. You don’t want to give the impression that their building will be the best and longest lasting building in all of Boston, and by the same token, you’ll also want to make sure that things like pricing and deadlines contain no surprises for the homeowner. Make costs immediately clear and leave extra room in your proposed schedule so that you finish ahead of time or on time, not late.
5. Don’t Hesitate to Say No
Sometimes, you’ll know at the outset that there is no way that you can please a particular client. Perhaps they refuse to believe the realities of material costs and assume that you can deliver high-end materials for low-end pricing. Maybe they issued an edict that you can’t make noise that disturbs the neighbors or block traffic while unloading materials, which, as you know, is impossible on Boston’s busy streets or within triple deckers and high rises with multiple tenants (but be sure you are complying with local ordinances). In these cases, you can prevent future issues simply by declining the customer politely.
If you are looking for ways to ease the homebuilder-client relationship, then it all starts with managing customer expectations well. These five tactics will help you get your customer relationships where they need to be.