Built to Build: Blog
HOW TO DELIVER BAD NEWS TO CUSTOMERS
NO ONE LIKES DELIVERING BAD NEWS
You probably remember the last time you had to call a customer and deliver bad news.
Not just for you, but for the customer, too.
The pain of disappointing your customers is compounded when you wait until the last minute to contact them.
But you can ease the pain of delivering bad news when you incorporate two types of updates in your regular communication with your customers.
TWO TYPES OF CUSTOMER UPDATES
In the Built to Build Academy’s® Customer Experience system (part of the Built to Grow program), we teach all of our members the CUSTOMER JOURNEY RULE:
Never, ever, ever, ever surprise your customers, but delight them constantly.
No one likes surprises, especially during a construction project.
I’m not talking about the things outside of your control. I am talking about the surprises that arise because of lack of communication, misunderstandings, or changes that happen without you informing the customer how that change is going to affect the budget, the schedule, or the scope of work.
Regular progress and status updates are your best solution on how to deliver bad news to customers.
A progress update is a standard message you deliver to the customer at the start of each phase of the project.
A status update is a customized message you send to the customer throughout a specific phase of the project.
Upon contract execution: “Now that we have executed the contract, we are beginning the Mobilization Phase of your project. Here’s what happens next…”
This progress update informs the customers where they are in the overall process.
A status update, using the example above, may look something like this:
“I just wanted to let you know that the dumpster should be delivered Tuesday morning between 8am and 10am. You don’t need to be home. We have directed our crews to place the dumpster on the plywood we placed on the right side of the driveway. I’ll let you know if anything changes.”
But sometimes things don’t go as planned.
That’s why issuing updates as soon as the planned activities change is vital to keeping a good relationship with your customers.
No one likes surprises, but you can still delight your customers by keeping them informed WHEN the planned activities change – even when you have to deliver bad news.
DELIVER BAD NEWS TO CUSTOMERS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
There’s no easy way to deliver bad news, but doing it sooner will save you a lot of stress, and get it off your back so you can start working on the solution sooner.
Send status updates to your customers every week. You’ll be able to soften the blow of bad news because you’ll see it coming.
Then, you can offer options IF plan A can’t/won’t happen. Your customers, as much as they might not like to hear it, will appreciate the honesty and timeliness of your communication.
If you wait until the last minute, you’ll be dealing with two problems – THE problem itself and a frustrated customer.
REGULAR UPDATES ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN COMPLETION
Send progress updates every time your customer starts a new phase of the project – “We start the rough-in on Monday, and here’s what that looks like…”
Send status updates every week or as soon as things change – “The countertops were supposed to be delivered on Friday, but the crews got backed up. We are disappointed with this delay, but we decided to let the painters finish…”
These updates keep the momentum of the project moving forward even when you hit a snag.
Your customer will come to trust in your regular communication, even when it’s bad news.
CLIENTS APPRECIATE THE TRUTH UPFRONT
When you make it a priority to tell your clients the truth upfront about their project, they will be more likely to cut you some slack when things don’t go perfectly.
Sure, you’ll have a few customers who go ballistic on you.
But you’re tough. You can take it.
You can feel good that you did the right thing rather than waiting until the last minute to deliver the news.
DESIGNING YOUR CUSTOMER JOURNEY
How awesome would it be to have a detailed and documented process for your team to follow that delights your customers and streamlines your production?
Apply for a program in the Built to Build Academy®.
You’re going to struggle until you have these systems in place.
JOIN THE SYSTEM BUILDERS™ COMMUNITY FOR FREE
Wish you could connect with like-minded business owners, ask questions, get feedback, and receive a ton of free resources to manage the “business side” of your construction business?
Then click here, join the System Builders™ online community for free, and get access to a ton of free trainings, resources, and your new peer group of professional contractors.