When asked which restaurants gave you good service or scrumptious food you’ll probably have to think, but if you are asked which restaurant gave you bad service or poor food, you’ll probably recall the name instantaneously, even remembering the date and who you were with at the time. I was fortunate to go on a great train trip recently. What do I remember most about the journey – well the slow meal time service? Sad but true. The good parts of the trip were over-shadowed by the poor service.
Construction is much the same and clients will remember errors long after they’ve been remedied. Some can be very unforgiving. Even if your price is the cheapest but you have a poor reputation (which may even be undeserved), you will not be awarded the project.
One mistake can undo thousands of hours of hard work. That error may be caused by you or one of your employees. Incidents that can affect a company’s reputation include poor quality, ill-disciplined staff, aggressive behaviour when settling claims and variations, safety incidents, environmental accidents and not delivering a project on time. Even incidents that you consider trivial can be problematic for some clients, since they may view things differently, and have different priorities and agendas.
Furthermore, clients talk to each other and word quickly spreads that a particular contractor is problematic.
Don’t underestimate the bad publicity that can stem from an accident on your project, an environmental issue, damage to public services or surrounding properties, questions over possible fraudulent activities, disputes and legal proceedings with clients, poor quality workmanship or unseemly behaviour from your workers. Bad news travels fast and the media loves a sensational story. Unfortunately most clients will keep away from contractors who make the press for the wrong reasons.
But even neighbours or potential clients that walk past your project site quickly become aware of a disorganised or poorly managed project. Those potential clients will be turned off by your construction company and will take their construction projects elsewhere. People talk, and even clients who haven’t witnessed a contractor’s shoddy performance often get to hear about it (sometimes even an embellished version, which may blow the incident up even further).
It’s important that all your personnel understand the importance of delivering a quality project on time without safety, environmental or disciplinary breaches. Reputation is a team effort and everyone needs to understand how important it is for them to portray the company in a good light, maintaining the company’s fine reputation in everything they do.
If your construction company has a good reputation clients will actively seek you out to price their project, maybe even negotiating it only with your company. In the past, I have often been awarded construction projects even though we didn’t have the lowest price. Clients wanted us to do their work because they knew we would deliver a quality project, safely and on time, with minimal fuss.
How has having a good reputation impacted your business? What incidents negatively impacted your company? Are all your employees committed to fostering a positive image for your company and do they understand how important it is?
Thanks for taking the time to read this article. If you found it useful please comment, share it, or like, so others in your network can read it. Next week I intend to develop this important topic further.
Other relevant and useful articles by the author include:
Will your construction project be completed on schedule?
What you need to know to close-out your construction project successfully.
Who is responsible for safety on your project?
Who is responsible for quality on your project?
Construction is a people business. Employ the right people.
(Paul Netscher is the author of the acclaimed books ‘Successful Construction Project Management: The Practical Guide’ [a required text for Bachelor of Construction Management at some universities] and ‘Building a Successful Construction Company: The Practical Guide’. Both books are available in paperback and e-book from Amazon and other retail outlets. This article is adapted from information included in these books. To read more Go To)