It’s important for construction companies to build good relationships with their customers. Unfortunately many construction projects end in an adversarial position. It becomes ‘them and us’. Contractors view the client as out to get them, and customers often view contractors as a bunch of crooks. Yet, I’ve had many long successful relationships with some clients. They weren’t always happy with us, and nor were we always happy with them. We had our disagreements and arguments, but in most cases the construction project was finished well, issues were sorted amicably, and seldom did one party feel aggrieved. In fact in many cases we constructed further projects for the same customer – sometimes, even becoming their contractor of choice.
Why it’s important for contractors to develop good customer relations
Having a good relationship with customers often means the customer favours the contractor for their next project, sometimes even directly negotiating new projects with them, or even awarding projects to the contractor when their price isn’t the lowest. The customer is prepared to pay a premium to work with a contractor that they know they can trust and rely on to deliver their construction project on time and with good quality.
Having a good relationship with a client often means the contractor can obtain the inside track on forthcoming construction projects, enabling them to be one step ahead of competitors. Knowing what the customer is really looking for has enabled us to strategically position our price presentation, ensuring that we answered the customers concerns, that we could demonstrate that we understood what was important to the customer, and we could portray our company as the best for the project.
Construction projects are built with a team effort. A team that’s striving for one common goal to complete the project successfully. Projects are built on trust, with the client and the contractor helping each other and not out to trip each other up.
Having a good relationship means the contractor understand the customer’s needs and focusses on delivering a project that fulfils these needs. It enables the contractor to put the right people on the project.
Having a good relationship means that the contractor and the customer can talk through problems, present their concerns, and develop solutions. Issues can be resolved without resorting to lawyers because there’s already empathy and respect for the other party. A good relationship means that there’s open and honest dialogue. Good relationships reduce conflict. Good relations help resolve problems.
How do we develop relationships with our clients in construction?
Building good relationships depends on individuals, yet it’s also a team effort. A good relationship between a client and contractor can quickly be destroyed by one individual – perhaps the contractor’s project manager who has an argument with the client, possibly is rude, or lodges spurious claims.
Good relationships are built on trust and honesty. They survive on delivering quality projects on time.
Good relationships are built by talking, by working through problems, and most importantly by being sensitive to customers and their needs. Of course good relationships are a two-way street, and both the customer and the contractor have to build the relationship.
Egos and personal gain destroy relationships.
Even the best working relationships have to be worked on, so contractors should stay in contact with their past customers. Today many have a frenetic and busy life and past good relationships can be forgotten at the end of the project. It’s important to keep contact with customers, give a call, or even pop in for a coffee.
What shouldn’t destroy relationships
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Copyright 2016 - The attached articles cannot be reproduced for commercial purposes without the consent of the author.
The opinions expressed in the attached articles are those of the writer. It should be noted that projects are varied and different laws and restrictions apply which depend on the location of the contractor and the project. It's important that the reader uses the supplied information taking cognisance of their particular circumstances. The writer assumes no responsibility or liability for any loss of any kind arising from the reader using the information or advice contained herein.
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