Building Open Communication

Whether it’s a small remodel or complete, start-to-finish structure, there are several components that go into making a job successful. But, in our experience, nothing is more important than good communication with the client.

When design, build and construction professionals focus solely on the job and forget to include their clients, disasters can happen. From a client being “blind-sided” by the unexpected to giving them something they didn’t really want.  

Here are four key elements that make for good communication with your clients.

Know Your Audience

It’s the first question asked by public speakers, politicians, and writers, and it needs to be the first question we ask ourselves at the onset of work: Who is my audience? We’re industry professionals. We know the ins and outs of design and build. We talk about bearing walls, flashing, rough plumbing, running a new feed from the panel box. These may be common terms we use every day, but if you’re not in construction, they may not make sense. Be aware of your client. Make sure you are talking about the work on their terms.

Make Time

Make it a habit to speak with your clients on a regular basis, whether you’ve encountered an unexpected dry-rot glitch or everything’s running on-schedule. Depending on the stage of work, that may mean setting aside time every day, every other day, or every week. Reaching out to your client regularly gives them a chance to ask questions, whether they be about clarifying architectural specifics or understanding the work schedule. This makes a client feel like their job is as important to you as it is to them.

Keep Your Ears Open   listen_small

Good communication, however, isn’t just about conveying information to your client. A good communicator is a great listener. Be easily reachable by phone and email. Encourage questions. It’s the client’s money; it’s the client’s time; it’s the client’s home. It’s important to really focus on what they are saying to you.

Utilize Your Tools

There are many tools available on the market to help you and your client stay in touch with the project. They come with a wide range of features, from full sharing and editing of scope-of-work and scheduling to more limited report generators.

You can share contact information, blueprints, design sketch-ups, workers’ schedules, sub-contractor and vendor information on specific products, and more. Each job and each client is different, but online construction tools like these can go a long way in the right situation to keep your client abreast of the work.

Ultimately, whether you’re a designer, an architect or engineer; a specialized or general contractor, our goals are the same: we want our jobs to run smoothly and, ultimately, we want our clients to be happy with the work that we have done for them. There’s no better way to insure that outcome than being open with and accessible to your clients.