Home Technology businesses are notoriously difficult to manage and run. They are unlike anything else in the construction industry. The challenges are vast and ever changing. There is pressure from the Client to have a project finished at the same time the Main Contractor is complete, but in reality, this can leave integration companies very little time to complete their work in a dust free and clean environment. The key that many integration companies figured out a while ago is to do as much work off site as possible; mitigate the risk. But, whatever we do we will still encounter problems along the way, and typically these happen when the project as a whole is nearing completion. It’s typical at this time for the Client to be impatient, keen to move into their new home, and more often than not, however good the relationship has been throughout the project they just want to see the back of all the Contractors. And that includes you too.
Explaining or telling your Customers about your problems is unlikely to do much for your relationship with them whatever stage in the project you’re at. It is worth remembering that Client’s don’t want a Home Technology project, a building project or any other type of project. They are buying the end result, what it gives them when everything is installed and complete and you’re gone. Chances are that some Customers might be accepting of your issues and allow you some space to resolve, but the very nature of the type of Clients that want what you offer are unlikely to take too kindly to your problems and excuses for not doing what should have been done.
So what can you do? How can you avoid these situations from happening?
- Be on time – By being ahead of time
- Do what you say you’re going to do
- Build up Credit in The Emotional Bank Account
- Create an Outstanding Level of Service (Really Outstanding)
- Processes & Systems – Why they make all the difference
This blog will explore each of these five steps in more detail and what you can do to implement them into your business.
1. Be on time – By being ahead of time
Simple. Be on time. Not just for meetings with Clients but everything within the business. Look at everything in the business and understand what ‘on time’ means for each of those things. Look to see how these tasks or processes can be done ahead of time. So, when it doesn’t go right there’s some capacity to get it fixed. This is mission critical for anything that is directly related to your projects. Whether that be procurement or scheduling what time the engineers should get to site. Look at reverse engineering the tasks and build in some time to the areas where it might not work out and things could go wrong. If your engineers are due on site at 8am, make sure they are there by 7.45 waiting and prepared. Account for bad traffic and other obstacles.
Building in the extra time allows you to use it for something else when it does go to plan. The more ahead of time each area of the business can become the less problems you’re likely to encounter, and when you do, there’ll be more time and resource available to fix it without having to explain your problems to the Customer.
2. Do What You Say You’re Going to Do
Don’t let your Clients down, at the very least. It used to be about managing your Client’s expectations. That’s just not enough anymore. Under promising and over delivering? Under whelmed Clients at the start. Today’s Clients are arguably much harder to please than they were 10 or even 5 years ago. What’s next? Being Customer driven? Customer driven organisations focus their attention on doing what your Customer wants you to do. This is tough at the best of times. In the home technology market, this is unbelievably tough! Especially in most circumstances when they don’t even know what they want. So, you ask better questions and build better relationships and that helps.
As demand grows for media rooms and cinemas so does the competition. There are more Home Technology companies cropping up all the time as they diversify from IT companies and electricians. The key to success and generating referrals as well as happy Customers is to do what your Customers want AND do it better than anyone else. Add new things they couldn’t have possibly imagined or thought of.
The one thing that will lead to this working and being a success? The business must have the capacity to implement it.
3. Build Up Credit in The Emotional Bank Account
Doing lots of little things right adds up into creating an experience your Client will be happy with. The idea of an emotional bank account works the same as a bank account for money. Deposits and withdrawals can be made. The more money you deposit the more the funds build up, and when it comes time to withdraw the account won’t end up in the overdraft.
Applying this concept to your Clients will help build strength into your relationship with them. No matter how small the gesture, doing the right things helps. Whether that’s great service, turning up on time or going the extra mile to get the job done. Constantly doing the right thing by your Customers will make them feel great, and when the time comes and options are at a minimum, they’re likely to accept your withdrawal with much more grace than if they have been continually let down by poor service and a lack of attention.
4. Create an Outstanding Level of Service (Really Outstanding)
It’s easy to say but it takes time to implement. It requires ripping up the company culture and starting again. Getting rid of all the bad habits and the excuses and really focusing on being outstanding to all your Customers. Regardless of the size of the project or Client, the whole experience from start to finish should be incredible. By behaving and acting in this way so many other areas will fall into place. It gets rid of problems and delays that have caused issues in the past, because with this new level of service that’s implemented those items get dealt with.
This isn’t an overnight fix, and it’s not simple. It requires a complete shift in company culture to implement and make a true success of it. Making exceptional the standard requires change throughout the whole organisation. It requires all members of the team to be bought into the change and the new culture.
5. Processes & Systems – Why they make all the difference
Process and systems have been saved as the last point for a really good reason. Nailing the process and systems your business needs to have is a massive part of getting rid of problems. It gives everyone in the organisation a framework to work to. They help people do their job quicker, with less intervention, to the standard you insist on and it makes your employees feel empowered to do their job. It helps to have a culture of building systems and process, as well as constant improvement. If only a few members of the team are responsible for building the standards with no involvement from the rest of the team implementation will be harder. Building a culture around something involves living and breathing the way it should work. Putting posters up on the wall and telling people what to do doesn’t work. The best way to ensure people change is to lead by example.
Moving your business up to the next level is really tough and requires many things. Vision, to see what the future looks like, leadership to take the team to the new destination and passion to keep delivering to the highest possible standards. It isn’t easy and it takes time. The importance of not burdening your Clients with your problems is key. It keeps you accountable to your Clients and also to the business. We’ve all experienced great Customer service at some point, and it’s worth remembering how that company would have dealt with a problem if they had one. Will they have let you know, or just got stuck in and worked out a solution. Making and sticking to standards that define you and your business will go a long way and help with building a strong team around you. Don’t be scared to let go of people that don’t fit the mould or don’t want to change or adapt to the new, better model.