Rule 10: Call them before they call you.
If there is one rule among all these rules that will make a huge difference for you, it is this one. Carry this rule around with you at all times and always, always obey it.
A rule this important requires some explanation, of course.
Let’s take an example: You contract with a client to perform a topographic survey, and although you do not contract for a specific date of delivery, the client has some general expectations that it will be done in about 2 weeks, and that expectation has been conveyed to you one way or another. Now at about the same time, there is a rush of other work you contract for. Three weeks go by and you haven’t started this client’s job.
The typical way of dealing with this is to wait for the client to call, and hope they don’t before the job gets under way. On the other end of this relationship, the client is thinking, “I thought this job was going to take two weeks, and I haven’t heard a peep from that surveyor.” When he finally decides to call and see what’s going on, he’s already upset and displeased. You would be, too.
A much better way of handling this situation is, once you find out the project is going to be delayed, get on the phone and contact your client to tell him. He will most likely understand, and give you a break, but if you wait, he won’t. Over the years this simple rule has saved innumerable client relationships.
There doesn’t even have to be a problem to make this rule pay off. For instance, call clients just to let them know you’re working on the project and give them a status report. Clients will be surprised and pleasantly so. If you have any inkling whatever that a client may not know what’s going on, or might be unhappy, get in touch. There is nothing like a happy client.
So whether you have good news or bad, get on the phone, send email, do whatever you have to do to stay in contact with your clients. They will appreciate it, and other surveyors will wonder why your clients are so loyal.
You will also have a much lower stress level, because waiting for those unpleasant calls that you know will come is a good way to get an ulcer.
Always, always, call them before they call you.
Communication, in any respect, is key. Consistent communication between businesses and their clients is necessary in order to build trust, respect, and a lasting relationship. This is why Beardslee pleads for you to call your clients when an issue arrises rather than wait for them to call you.
It helps to realize that your clients are understanding. Your clients are people just like you and have their own hiccups and delays from time to time in whatever field they work in. They know how business goes and understand that delays and issues are practically inevitable. The only thing your clients do not understand is a lack of communication or updates about project issues. When a client has to constantly reach out to your firm and check in to see how the project is progressing, it makes them feel like you don’t care about them.
How do you know there is a problem? Do you have visibility into your projects?
Project visibility is crucial in a land surveying firm, and it will greatly help you to identify problems, figure out solutions, and communicate with your clients. Project Managers and Administrators may not always be filled in on what is going on with a specific job. If they do not know what’s happening, they might not know about problems in the first place and could receive an angry call from a client before you have had a chance to call them first. You must be able to see when a job is going off-track so you can make that call to your client now, instead of waiting until the end of the month or the end of the project when the hours are all tallied up.
Project management solutions for land surveyors
What are the solutions? As a firm, you must find the best way possible to keep technicians, Project Managers, and Administrators on the same page. When everyone is informed, you will always be able to call first. Some companies use Excel to track project progress, but the best way is to keep all of your job’s information in one online database so everyone can access it.
One solution that could be right for your firm is Cyanic Job Book. This technology is designed specifically for land surveying firms to help keep things organized and make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
A couple of the features that will help your firm call them before they call you:
- Active Job Dashboard: allows managers to access all the information about their jobs including project status, burn rate, and budget breakdowns.
- Client Database: stores the information and work you have done for all of your clients. When a customer calls, all of the information is just a few clicks away, and you can answer all of their questions.
Cyanic Job Book makes sure that Technicians, Project Managers, and Administrators all have access to the information they need to take better care of clients.