How to Effectively Communicate with Your Clients
Communication is key in any industry, but as a tradesperson, it plays a critical role in keeping the project safe, on track, on budget and to the client's expectations. If you have poor communication, you could lose vast sums of money as risks and hazards are everywhere on a building site, and if you don't communicate effectively, something nasty could happen.
On top of this, customers are forever changing their minds about what they want doing. Whether it's a new bathroom or a full house renovation, misunderstandings are the bane of tradespeople's lives. This quote rings true when it comes to communicating with your customers:
"The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it took place" - George Bernard Shaw.
Today, Rhino wants to go through the best techniques when communicating with clients. By following this simple guide, save your business from angry customers, payment issues, legal problems, and more.
Have a single point of contact.
If it's one thing that clients love, it's knowing who to call if there's an issue. I recently replaced my boiler, and the communication was easy and effective. The Plumber did all the practical work and had his business partner manage all contact from the office. Although this was a pain-free experience, we understand that not every trade firm will have someone to manage customer contact like this.
With that said, as the contractor, it is worthwhile to actively manage the relationship or delegate the task to a specific point of contact within your business (who has the authority to make a decision) so that there's one message and no crossed wires. From the outset, you need to make the name and number clear of whoever the point of contact is.
Although it's convenient for you, it helps make your customer feel like everything is under control (which it is) without needing to answer your phone on-site every ten minutes to answer their questions.
Manage their expectations
Setting expectations for your customer is a vital part of communication management. Without this, you are starting on rocky ground. A key element of this point is not to over-egg the pudding. Make sure you are realistic about what the project will include and what the outcome looks like.
Many of you will have heard of the phrase, but "under promise, over deliver" is a brilliant way to run your trade business. If you promise your customers the world, then you are putting yourself under major pressure (especially if, deep down, you know you won't be able to deliver the result).
Some ways to do this include:
- Set prices on the higher side of the expected budget (in case there are any unforeseen costs)
- Give yourself extra time (if you think the job will take 10 days, tell the client it’ll be 14, just to be safe)
If the customer has done their due diligence on your company, they will likely be happy with the proposal offered. Managing a customer's expectations is a crucial part of communication as it alleviates any stress and will ensure you and the client are happy at the end of the job.
Be credible and confident in your work.
The first time you meet your customer is the best time to instil trust. They want to feel safe knowing you can do what they are asking for.
This is an ideal opportunity to showcase your credibility for the job and build a lasting relationship with them. Don't bamboozle them with jargon, come across as uninterested or make it sound like what they are asking for is "too difficult".
Going that extra yard matters in the trades and helps you to win more business; if you have examples of your work (maybe on social media), great. If you have testimonials or reviews, even better!
The early impressions can cement your legacy with that customer and have you getting repeat business from them in years to come. If you come across as the opposite, you will have customers wondering whether they made the right decision and looking over your shoulder every hour.
On top of this, consider sharing that you are fully insured and that their project will be safe should anything untoward occur. Clients may ask for proof, and having a well-rounded trade insurance policy can set their minds at ease when choosing whether to hire you.
Be transparent with the costs
One of the finest examples of not communicating properly with your potential customer is not breaking down your costs effectively. If you simply show up, have a look around and send them a quote, they will likely look with suspicion and wonder whether they could get a better price elsewhere.
If you break down the price and take time to explain to the customer what your proposal entails, they are more likely to respect and understand the costs involved.
Include the following with your quote:
- The costs of the materials used
- The price of your service
- What expenses will be expected during the work
Assuming your client can see where the money is going, they are more likely to engage and discuss any potential reductions or accept the price.
Adding the credibility part to your cost is an excellent way to get the deal over the line. Showcasing the value you can offer a client goes a long way. Also, with your experience and expert knowledge that is in high demand, you hold the cards if a customer wants a decent job doing.
Why choose Rhino Trade Insurance?
And there you have it. Hopefully, if you are looking for tips on better communicating with your clients, you have found the answers today. If you would like to read more insightful articles, why not check out the Rhino blog, we cover a whole manner of topics, including the environment, business set-up, pricing your jobs and more.
If you are interested in a new insurance policy, then look no further. Our team of policy experts have designed tailored cover for almost every trade available. You can get safe and effective cover ranging from £1 million to £5 million (£10 million for Employers' Liability Insurance).
Want to know more? Call our team to get the answers to any questions you have on 0116 243 7904, or you can explore our website and see what cover fits your business. Then finish your journey with our handy online quote calculator.