After over a decade in the construction industry there is one thing, I am 100% certain of… Communication! It is lacklustre at best, and that has led me to get to the root causes of this. In the process, I discovered how we can become better communicators with our customers in all industries.
I have broken this down into five must-have steps and processes that once implemented will leave your customers impressed and raving about their experience.
1. Have A Plan
Now when I say you must have a plan what I’m talking about is you must have company dialogue or scripts. What does that messaging look like and what does that wording look like?
Any time you talk to a customer, whether it’s the management, the sales force, or the field workers, you must have a plan. If you don’t do this, you start getting a bunch of different dialogues happening, resulting in different messages being sent to your customers. It creates confusion for customers and will result in angry, frustrated customers in the long run.
The whole thing could have easily been avoided if everyone had been on the same page. It is imperative that we have protocols for how we will speak to all customers going forward. Everybody needs to use the same language, same terms, and dialogue every time. The organization must be on the same page.
You cannot have the sales staff speaking completely different than the production staff, then at the same time having management use completely different dialogues. First things first, put together a plan and make sure that you do the training on it! Train your staff how to use it every time and make sure everyone of your staff is on the same page. This will not be a one-time thing as you will be creating a culture shift, but it will have a profound impact on you and your customers’ happiness.
2. Be Clear
What we see all too often is a lack of clarity, people get out there and they start talking and getting off messages. When dealing with an aggravated customer, sometimes clarity goes completely out the window. What we end up doing is confusing the customer more than how they originally were. This has a detrimental effect on that customer experience.
Oftentimes, we do not want to give a direct answer for fear that somebody might not like that or that we might come across as being rude. Well, you can be polite and clear, you do not have to be rude and be mean about it, it’s all about the tone. Customers want clarity when you are speaking to them. Being clear will create more business as it will leave you with happier customers.
3. Do What You Say. Always.
Now doing what you say should be automatic, but how does this even make the list? What ends up happening when communicating is people sign up for things that they are unwilling to do or do not have the time to do. That is not how it should work. When customers assert an adjustment according to their way or their timeline, we always want to make it work, so we agree and give them promises. This becomes our downfall. So when you are communicating with somebody, only sign up for things that you can do and do what you say you are going to do. Customers say all too often that if you have just been upfront on what was going to happen, they wouldn’t mind.
We must always speak the truth and be transparent with customers . We need to keep our word. Like I said it should be obvious, but people get caught up in the moment. Here is where having a plan comes into play. Once your team is trained on it, they will know exactly what to say.
4. Find and Use Communication Software
Everyone should use a centralized form of communication. If it’s a preferred platform, and everybody should be on the same platform, from the customers to your team. While it’s tempting with today’s technology, no company should be using multiple forms of communication. We end up in a confusing overload if we have everyone use every form of communication, from messenger, e-mail, WhatsApp, phone calls, and text messages. If it’s not centralized, it creates many problems. There would be a lot of friction tracing back correspondence and all.
Finding a way for your staff and customers to communicate all in one place is especially important to creating that perfect communication. Do not be left out there having your sales rep using email, having your field team texting, and then your office staff on the phone. Use a platform that can manage all your company’s communication between your team and the customer.
5. Do not Accept the Past as the Standard
I think the biggest key to this is to not accept the past as the standard. We hear all too often that it is just how it is, and it is acceptable. We should try to come with ways on how we can improve and communicate better with our customers. We should not believe that an existing communication that is horrible is ok. We can fix this and do better. Our customers and teams deserve this from us. As a leader, it is your job to change the mindset and push through the walls that have held your company and industry behind.
Ron is a Dynamic, results-oriented leader. He is a Conductor of change that never accepts the status quo or an excuse. After serving in the Marine Corps., he spent over a decade in the construction industry working in many facets from field, sales, leadership, and management. He is the Founder and CEO of Nuttnest. Ron uses his knowledge and experiences to help others grow and change the overall mindset around construction. Pushing the industry into the 21st century and removing the old stigmas and limiting beliefs around construction.