· gospel according to dan · 5 min read

Surveyors can't afford to offend clients

Bad news travels a lot faster than good news. Here's what you can do to keep your clients happy.
💡The following is an excerpt from Dan Beardslee’s “The Management Handbook for Land Surveyors”.

Rule 11: When you offend someone in a business situation, you offend 250 other people as well.

It’s well to remember that people talk to other people. That’s a big downside to offending someone in a business situation.

Let’s say, for instance, that you promised a job complete on November 30 and didn’t deliver the job until December 30, and in the meantime, you failed to stay in touch with your client, and the client made repeated calls which you never returned. Furthermore, you charged the client more than you quoted, citing difficult title conditions or something to that effect. An extreme example, perhaps, but consider the consequences.

Let’s call your client Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones is disappointed with you in particular and the surveying profession in general. He is probably thinking that the whole industry is a bunch of goons with no business sense or commitment to their clients. So Mr. Jones goes to church that Sunday (or it might be many Sundays later) and after the service the subject of property boundaries and surveyors comes up. One of his friends is considering having some property surveyed and asks if anyone has any experience or recommendations. You can be sure that Mr. Jones will condemn not only you, but also the profession in general. And don’t be surprised if the experience is embellished, as bad news often is. If five people hear his story, each one tells some of his or her friends and each time the story is retold the story is embellished, the facts distorted and your reputation is besmirched.

And that’s not the end of it. Mr. Jones has friends at work that will pass along the same story, and Mr. Jones goes to his bridge club and repeats it at the local service club and at the bar or wherever he goes. It doesn’t take long for the story to reach a lot of people, all of whom are negatively impressed.

Bad news travels a lot faster than good news, but had you done a good job for Mr. Jones, you would at least have done no damage, and you might have had a referral or two down the road. Land surveying business is almost always by referral; a client that had a good experience is your very best advertisement. Of course a bad experience is your worst advertisement and reaches a whole lot more potential clients.

You simply can’t afford to offend clients, and the easiest way to offend them is to provide poor service.

Act as if you are communicating with 250 people when you don’t perform – because you are.

Good News is Good News

The essence of Rule 11: Effective client communication for surveyors is the importance of client satisfaction. Both good and bad news travel quickly. In a business situation, good news spreading can lead to referrals and new business, whereas bad news spreading can leave a permanent mark on your firm’s reputation.

Messing up your relationship with one client might not seem like a big deal if you have a large firm and lots of work. Unfortunately, people talk, and when you leave one client dissatisfied it can lead your other clients to question your firm’s work, and future opportunities going down the drain. You might have heard the saying “No news is good news”, but good news is good news. Leaving clients with nothing positive or negative to say about your work is not a bad thing but leaving them extra satisfied is how your business will thrive. Each new project provides more than an opportunity to make money. They present you with the ability to wow your clients and make them want to refer you to their friends.

Although it may be hard to picture, you must envision 250 or more people when you work to meet your client’s expectations. Your hard-earned reputation as well as the future of your business are in balance with each new client you take on. Just remember to focus on things that will make your clients happy:

  1. Communication
  2. Timely delivery
  3. Aggressive problem-solving
  4. Trust and owning up to mistakes

Put The Plan into Action

Surveyors must guarantee customer satisfaction to the best of their abilities. To put your firm in the best position to communicate with your clients, everyone from the field crews to the operation managers and administrators must be on the same page. When everyone has the same access to information involving your clients, your firm will be able to communicate effectively on every level. Detailed reports and constant communication between employees can be one way to achieve this.

Like communication, aggressive problem-solving requires all staff to have access to critical information so that they can find a problem and fix it. Organization is a necessity to ensure that problems can be solved.

Owning up to mistakes is an easy way to ensure your clients are not offended. A firm can only own up to a mistake on a job if they are aware of a mistake in the first place.

Land Surveying Management Software Can Help

Ensuring customer satisfaction requires your firm to be well organized and to have real-time project visibility.

The best way to do this is to use land surveying management software, such as Cyanic Job Book. These tools offer everything your surveying company needs to manage projects, all in one application:

  • Client Database
  • Job Database
  • Job Search & Job Mapping
  • Budgeting & Estimates
  • Time Sheets
  • Tasks & Scheduling

If you can stay on top of projects and deal with issues before they become issues, that will go a long way to keep your clients happy and spreading good news about you.

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