Communication is Key

September 26th, 2018

We are often asked about the difference between businesses that have strong success with securing jobs on builderscrack and those that don’t…

If we had to pick one aspect that consistently results in better outcomes for all parties, it generally always comes down to communication.

Profile

Communication starts with your profile. How you present your business is more than your accreditations, experience and expertise. While these are of course essential, homeowners are also deeply interested in the values your business is built on. What does your business name represent?

  • Do you aim to provide the best value?
  • Do you aim to offer the highest quality work?
  • Are you more focused on a high turnaround of work?
  • Do you go above and beyond to help the homeowner understand the work to be undertaken?
  • Do you offer no obligation, free quotes?
  • What size jobs are your specialty?

Communicating these values more clearly and confidently builds trust in the homeowners who are viewing your profile, especially at the critical point of deciding which tradie to grant contact to for their job.

Contact Granted

After contact is granted, the work you put in to communicate promptly, professionally and clearly pays off.

The effort you put in here is critical for securing work through builderscrack. In user surveys we’ve conducted, many of our homeowners consider trust as more important than price. When two quotes come in at a similar price, the homeowner will go with the tradie they feel more comfortable with. Trust and comfort are built primarily, and in many cases, solely through communication.

How you communicate should be thought out before you jump right in. Spend some time considering a strategy for how you’ll secure work and reflect on the values you believe homeowners are looking for in your space.

Some aspects of your communication strategy to consider are:

  • Promptness – How quickly do you respond to the homeowner in our message system and over the phone?
  • Warmth – How “warm” are you when communicating? Politeness and courtesy go a long way to building warmth and trust
  • Detail – Do you offer clear answers to homeowners questions? Do you respond to all questions asked? Do you go the extra mile to create understanding?
  • No obligation – One thing that goes a long way to building trust is being conscious of how you come across in the quoting process. Homeowners will generally feel most comfortable with no obligation, so it works to your advantage to give space and control to a job owner
  • Professionalism – Professionalism gives a job owner confidence you can and will do what you say you’ll do. Professionalism entails confidence, engagement, respect and promptness. Professionalism demonstrates you embody your business’ values

Remember, many homeowners post reviews on communication even if the job was not awarded to you and you didn’t carry out any work. This feeds into your overall score and can affect your ability to win work in the future both positively and negatively.

Job Secured

After securing work, it’s critical you continue with the communication strategy you used to secure the working the first place and follow through on what was promised. In our experience, one of the leading causes of jobs becoming disputes is when communication breaks down. The vast majority of homeowners are understanding when circumstances change, and things need to be juggled. Usually, it’s not a problem. Problems come up when homeowners don’t feel they’ve had changes communicated adequately to them.

It seems obvious, but letting a homeowner know even if you’re running a bit late goes a long way to maintaining trust and comfort.

Your aim here is to continue to grow your reputation through having your job owner post a great review of your business. While homeowners will often mark down jobs across all ratings (workmanship, communication, cost and schedule) if they feel your communication is lacking, conversely if your communication exceeds expectations, you’ll likely score a stronger score across all ratings. This is because strong communication offers the opportunity to clarify and/or fix any issues or misunderstandings, especially around workmanship and schedule.

Strong communication offers the possibility of managing client options and expectations. If they want the cheapest quote, it may result in an inferior result – if they spend a bit more, you can achieve a finish that is more in line with their expectations. Understanding client expectations and offering options is key to creating an outcome that will result in positive feedback for your business.

Job Completed

After you’ve completed your work, take the opportunity to ask some follow up questions of your client.

  • Did your work result and your business meet their expectations?
  • Is there anything they would like to suggest?

It can take time to develop the skills in this sort of communication to not openly invite criticism but rather obtain useful takeaway feedback that you can work on in the future. You also want to work to create a conversation where the homeowner feels relaxed and comfortable enough to be honest. This may involve elaborating on any difficulties you faced specific to the job, and sharing how and why some aspects of the work were finished in a way that was slightly different to the expectation if that is the case. If everything went exactly to plan, it’s often useful to share that, and inquire whether they feel the same.

If you’re not comfortable conducting these sort of conversations, think about whether you have someone in your business, or in the case of sole traders whether your partner can follow up. This creates a valuable feedback loop. It allows you to improve on both how you work and what sort of service you offer. This “final check” also offers you the opportunity to explain or elaborate on some misunderstanding that could otherwise be shared in public feedback and encourage a happy homeowner to post a review about you and your service.

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