Although an architectural firm may indeed boast a great deal of skill, client satisfaction is the final hallmark of a successful or failed business. What are five key areas that an architect should address in order to guarantee excellent customer relations?
The Use of CRM Software
Also known as customer relationship management, this system is an excellent way to better manage client-firm relationship. Collating data, staying on top of sales, bolstering customer support and monitoring conversion processes are all key areas that are addressed. In turn, much higher levels of satisfaction can be enjoyed by both parties through such proprietary software packages.
Communication within any business relationship is key. The same holds true in this case. In the simplest terms, this equates to better understanding the needs of the client. The end result will be a more targeted approach to his or her desires. Not only will this breed efficiency, but a great deal of time and money could be saved. These savings can then be passed on directly to the client.
Using the Correct Engineering Surveyor
The use of a fast, efficient and knowledgeable engineering surveyor cannot be overstated. An experienced engineer will be able to perform a measured buidling suvey within an agreeable time frame and return quality drawings fast. As many projects are often performed within an extremely tight time frame, a good surveyor is one of the key professionals that should always be used. From providing a topographical survey and addressing ownership boundaries to creating detailed plans that are able to pass local building codes, an experienced surveyor is a critical component. Since there are a number of these professionals within the industry, it is wise to only choose those with the best reputation and that are known to accommodate demanding schedules.
One of the issues that may be encountered during any project is the ability to obtain an unbiased analysis in terms of workload, price and projected completion dates. Any bias during these stages can not only lead to cost overruns, but could cause the reputation of the architectural firm to come into question. Customers require pragmatism and clarity in terms of all such estimates. In fact, a “no-nonsense” approach far outweighs one that will require an adjustment further down the line. There is simply no room for salesmanship once a job begins.
Establishing Rapport Through Good Contractors
The process of keeping a customer happy should never end once the job is procured and the contract is signed. This is often a costly mistake of many firms. While the project itself may have been won, there is no guarantee that future business will be generated. Although this is obviously important through the actions of the architectural firm itself, we should note that the contractor will also be present on the job site a good portion of the time. Securing a reputable, communicative and knowledgeable contractor is therefore another absolutely essential step. These attributes should be balanced with speed; a fast contractor is one who will keep the customer happy during all phases of the project.
The main takeaway point here is that each of these steps are not standalone recommendations. In other words, they should be used in conjunction with one another in order to keep the customer are happy as possible. The architect has many tools at his or her disposal and not all of these revolve around skill alone. With the use of a dedicated CRM system alongside excellent communication and efficiency, a one-off customer could quickly become a loyal contact and an excellent networking partner.