Implement a “Give it Away” Policy with Your Construction Team

Develop an above and beyond policy your team uses for dealing with clients

Develop an above and beyond policy your team uses for dealing with clients

Last time, I talked about making decisions concerning whether a change order is necessary when dealing with requests from clients. If you haven’t read that post, take time to do so. Otherwise, what I’m saying from here on out might not make much sense to you. Because, this time I’ll tell you how to go one step further in the process.

Ever thought about telling your team to give time and service to your clients at no additional charge? Ever thought about implementing a Give it Away policy?

Whoa, I know what you’re thinking. “I can’t possibly allow the crew to give it away, I’ll go broke!” That would possibly be true, unless you have a specific strategy in play concerning what and when to give away.

There are 3 levels involved in developing a Give it Away policy

Model the behavior

Model the behavior you want your team to emulate. Be the man or woman of integrity, conscience, and kindness you want every person on your team to be. When at all possible go the extra mile, give your clients more than they expected, be the guy or gal they want to recommend to others.

Teach your team

Teach your team what is acceptable in the give-more-than-expected category. Each trade will have its own set of approved above and beyond measures. Take the time to think about what will be on your “yes we can” list and make sure your team knows what they are. You’ll also have to let them know there may be things which pop up that aren’t on the list. Give them the metrics for discerning which are worthy. Should it be added to the list? You decide. And yes, there are likely to be mistakes made. Learn from it, teach your crew from it, and move on.

Reward the team

Reward those of your team who follow your guidelines and your model. Consider having a once a week Tattle and Reward session during your morning huddle. Fridays are a good day to practice this as events will be fresh in your team’s minds. It will likely take a few weeks to get the idea rolling, and its likely you’ll have to do much of the initial “tattling,” yet your crew will catch on. Encourage people to tattle on themselves also.

Here are some examples of what you want to hear from your team:

“I saw Dave helping our client unload some heavy boxes from his pickup.”

“I noticed Leslie installing a door knocker on Mrs. Smith’s new door.”

“I fixed the catch on the electrical box, so the client could open it from his wheelchair.”

You get the idea. The reward could be as simple as a round of applause for the person who is being tattled on. Or, you may wish to have a number of gift cards ready to be handed out to the hands who excelled. A five-dollar coffee shop card, a ten-dollar fast food card, a fifty-dollar gift card for a department store, or even higher denominations to a tool store might be in order. Some other rewards you may wish to include are branded coffee mugs and water bottles, lunch with the boss, books, lottery or movie tickets, a car wash certificate, or any item you know would be appreciated. It is up to you or a supervisor you designate what you’ll be giving, depending on the level of engagement from your crew members.

More for you to consider

The actions involved as well as the rewards given can range from the humble (screwed a latch back on a window) to the impressive (saved a client’s life.)

Training your team to be thoughtful won’t happen overnight.

The rewards you and your team receive by practicing going above and beyond won’t always be easily measurable.

Be sure to bring your sense of humor to the Tattle and Reward meeting, because . . . well you know, construction hands “just wanna have fun.”

If a mistake has been made, remember rewards take place in public, yet admonishments are taken care of in private.

Consider your social marketing angle and think about asking your team to provide pictures as often as possible. A phone and a specified email address could be all the tools they’ll need.

You can reach our construction accounting specialized team by calling 866-629-7735 or getting in touch here.

 

Do You Really Need a Change Order?

Hang the moon and stars for your clients as often as you can.

Hang the moon and stars for your clients as often as you can.

Client requests

Strategy is involved when you determine what to do and what not to do when dealing with client requests. Be sure all your employees and subcontractors know what the strategy is and how to deal with the various circumstances.

In my last post I presented information concerning how to deal with the inevitable change orders which pop up during construction.

This time let’s look at when a client’s request for additional service or a change in production, materials, or labor should be carried out as soon as possible with no need for the process involved in change orders. You can’t always hang the moon and the stars for your clients, but you can give them the little extras that will help them remember you and your team.

Make it all about the client

Have you been burned by a client who is “ever needy,” who constantly asks for things outside the scope of work as presented in the contract, who seems hell-bent to make sure they get more than they’re paying for? Yeah, we’ve all experienced that sort of bad behavior. (Meaning that is another reason to be sure you prequalify your clients.)

Chances are, those people are few and far between. Yet, the natural tendency to protect ourselves and our businesses against that sort of terrible behavior may get in the way of “being there” for the clients who are simply relying on us to provide what they need at a reasonable price and within a reasonable timeframe.

Teach your employees and subcontractors that whenever possible, meaning when the request is financially and logistically feasible, to simply comply.

3 ways to handle “above and beyond” requests

We’ll use an entry door installation as our jumping off point for all the examples below.

Do it

Your employee has just finished hanging a new entrance door and the client asks if she will also attach the door knocker the client picked up on his way home from work. No, it isn’t in the contract. Yet, it is a simple matter to use the tools already at hand to quickly install the new door knocker.

Offer resources for what you can’t provide

Your subcontractor has just finished hanging a new entrance door and the client asks if he will also install a hard-wired door bell the client ordered and has on hand. Your subcontractor doesn’t have a clue about electrical wiring. Your subcontractor, as well as your employees, should have a list of preferred contractors and service providers on hand to provide to the client.

Explain why a change order will be necessary

Your employee has just finished hanging a new entrance door and your client asks if he will change the door out for one seen online which incorporates better security measures than the one which was just installed. Your team should be trained concerning how to politely inform your client a change order will be necessary.

Think beyond the simplicity of the task

Let’s go back to the second of the three ways to handle the request. Remember, your client has just requested that a hard-wired door bell be installed. Now, let’s imagine your subcontractor or your employee does have the skill required for the task. A few other considerations now come into play. How long will it take? Is the new door bell replacing an old one or is the wiring going to have to be installed also? Has the client exhibited a tendency to request more and more without regard to the original contract?

Your client is your first consideration

Delivering more than your client expects has long term benefits for your construction business. Good-will is worth the tangible (read monetary) as well as the intangible gain garnered by providing it.

The basic gain is the feeling engendered in being able to help another person. Then there are a few other considerations concerning what is to be gained when you and your crew go out of the way to provide truly exceptional service – by doing what you don’t have to do. Gaining word-of-mouth recommendations is (or should be) your number one marketing tool. Want your present clients to tell your future clients how wonderful your construction business is? Give them every reason to do so.

This is huge! There is no better time to ask for a testimonial or referral than when you or your team has given more than was contracted for.

Want to know more about assuring that your team is on the same page you’re on when it comes to responses concerning above and beyond requests? Be sure to check back next time, I’ll discuss implementing a “give it away” policy.

In the meantime, you can reach our construction accounting specialized team here or by calling 866-629-7735.