Imagine this: You give your 100% and nail a project. You’re pretty confident in your capabilities as a tradie. You’re waiting for your client to call you and say how awesome you are. However, the client comes back with a bunch of complaints and is not happy – uh oh!
When it comes to meeting your client’s expectations, flying blind won’t be helpful at all.
In this article, we’re going to share some simple yet effective tips which can increase your chances of getting a 5-star rating exponentially!
1. Keep the scope of the project clear
This is the first and probably the most important component of meeting your customer’s expectations. Mention the entire scope of the project within the contract in as much detail as possible. This means you should clearly define the deliverables, timelines and points of contact.
Even if the client has read and agreed to sign the contract, it’s wise to meet them in person and explain the project scope, just so everyone is on the same page. This also provides both parties with an opportunity to make any changes, if required.
2. Set boundaries when necessary
The “customer is always right” attitude might sometimes result in customers taking advantage of you. You might get phone calls after work hours and lots of emails with the subject line “urgent”.
You might be asked to do the things that are not included in the project scope if you don’t set boundaries right from the get-go. All this “extra” stuff will ruin your work-life balance and might eventually deteriorate your relationship with the client.
So, set clear boundaries, respect each other’s work-life balance and tactfully say “no” when necessary.
3. Provide status updates on a regular basis
Be one step ahead of your client and provide them with detailed status updates regularly. If you don’t, be prepared for those extra phone calls and emails as mentioned above.
You should ideally update the client on what work has been completed in the previous week (or month) and what your plans for future weeks are. On a side note, organising face-to-face meetings is a must if the project is big.
Gantt charts are good for complex projects, but you don’t need complicated project management tools for small projects.
For example, if you’re building a new deck for a client, the status update could look like this:
Work completed during the week starting 2 Sep 2019
- Foundation dug
- Debris disposed of securely
Work planned for the week starting 9 Sep 2019
- Procure materials to build the foundation
- Commence building the foundation
4. Understand every client’s communication style
Every client is different. Some really want to micromanage the entire project, whereas others trust you completely. Some like being contacted through phone calls, while others stick to emails and take a couple of days to respond.
You, as a trade business owner, cannot control this. However, what you can do is adapt to every client’s communication style (within reason) and effectively keep them on top of everything. This also includes asking for feedback and understanding your client’s pain points and priorities.
Unhappy clients can cost your business more than you think. First of all, there’s no chance of a repeat sale. Secondly, they might tell others about the bad experience they had with you and this could ruin your reputation in the market.
However, if you clearly explain them the project scope and communicate in a way that we have mentioned above, you’d most likely be able to prevent any disputes later.