How to Keep Clients Happy through the LONG Build Process…
Let’s start with a little humor, shall we? I’ll explain why in a minute.
Congratulations! You’re halfway through the 2022 season, which means you’re probably loaded to capacity with multiple projects you hope to wrap up before the end of this year.
In fact, you’ve probably got more unfinished projects in construction at one time than ever before.
And that, unfortunately, is the rub.
Builders are telling me that “wrapping up projects” is now one of their greatest challenges. Projects are taking 2 to 4 times longer than usual, thanks to the ongoing labor challenges, materials delays, and other permit and supply chain issues.
So what are homeowners doing with all this extra time, while they’re waiting for their project to complete?
They’re micro-analyzing you.
Small issues that would have slipped by unnoticed during a speedy 2-month build are suddenly prickly and annoying, and gnawing at their gut as they find construction dragging into month #7 of their project.
So now you’re getting more phone calls, more complaints, and more special requests for you and your team to follow up on, in an effort to keep these people happy. And warranty and construction costs are going up, while profitability (in a record-revenue year) is taking a hit.
And quite possibly taking your online reputation down with it.
So what are we to do?
Well, we can’t speed-up delivery of backordered items, or hire and train new help fast enough, so that won’t work. So we’ve got to find a different solution.
I suggest you try to make this long, frustrating process as least-annoying as possible for the homeowner with BETTER COMMUNICATION.
When a homeowner doesn’t see anything happening in their backyard, and doesn’t hear from a contractor for several weeks, that’s when they get antsy.
So let’s keep them distracted. Let’s not give them so much quiet time to overanalyze things.
Let’s over-communicate as much as necessary, to reassure them we are 100% on top of everything, and have the situation in hand. (And we don’t need their help reminding us about every little delay.)
One way to do this is with a simple “How are we doing?” email that goes out automatically once a week. That was fine when pool construction took only a few months. But now that homeowners are going 3 to 6 weeks with no action, that friendly little weekly reminder may actually be pouring salt into the wound.
A better approach is a series of EDUCATIONAL messages to drip onto the homeowner throughout the construction process.
They don’t have a clue about the construction process, so anything you share with them is fresh and interesting, since you’re talking about what’s going to happen in their very own backyard.
Basically, you’re delivering your “Here’s What to Expect During Pool Construction” eBook in a piecemeal fashion, as your homeowners transition from one phase to the next.
Now I’m not suggesting you should write a custom email to every single homeowner every week, to tell them exactly what’s happening in their own backyard. That would be nice, but it would also be a full-time job.
I’m suggesting instead that a simple generic explanation of what happens before, during and after each step, sent on a timely basis, would be immensely valuable.
For example, right after the gunite process, they should get a friendly email which tells them what they need to know, such as:
- “We’ve just completed the gunite stage…”
- “The next 30 days are crucial in the life of all new gunite…”
- “Here’s what you need to do to maximize the life of your new pool…”
- “You probably won’t see much of us for at least the next three weeks…”
- “The next stage will be…”
I would continue these messages every week, even when nothing is happening.
For example, in the case of “post-gunite” above, I would probably follow up with further weekly emails such as:
- “Well, it’s been two weeks since we first applied your gunite…”
- “Well, it’s been three weeks since we first applied your gunite. At this point, the shell is around 75% cured…”
- “OK, it’s been four weeks since we applied your gunite. That means…”
I don’t know about you, but if I received timely, helpful emails from my pool contractor (or any long-term contractor, for that matter) every week, I would feel a lot more confident in their capabilities, sense of ownership and attention to my project.
Even if I haven’t seen anyone in a month, if they’ve been emailing me every week, I know they haven’t forgotten about me.
And isn’t that the goal?
Now my personal style would also be to throw in a little joke at the end of the email each week, just to keep it light, fun and friendly, despite the delays. (Like the example at the beginning of this email.)
If you agree that a simple weekly email might INCREASE SATISFACTION and REDUCE the COMPLAINING during construction…
Then you might want to schedule a demo where we’ll show you how we do this.