In this series of blog post I’ll be covering several topics on client care competency for the RICS.
The study list includes the following:
- Appointment documents
- Prequalification Questionnaires (PQQ)
- Invitation to Tender (ITT)
- Complaints procedures
- Understanding client objectives
- Establishing client’s brief
- Site investigation
- Feasibility studies
- Procurement reports
- Project programme
- Communication strategy (Part 1)
- Key Performance Indicators
- Stakeholder management
You can get a list of the other study checklist in your pathway guide from the RICS website.
The client in this competency is the ‘client’ who is engaging your services as a surveyor. In reality if you’re working as a contractor/subcontractor you wouldn’t be dealing with an actual client who has appointed you but a stakeholder such as your Project Manager or Commercial Director. Whomever you have to report to and you will have to use him/her as your client when advising for things in certain aspects of your other competencies.
What is client care?
In general client care is looking after your client’s best interest, providing value for money and satisfies their needs.
You would provide client care through your:
- working to standards
- not misleading
- communicating clearly (without jargon)
- act with integrity
More information on this can be found here.
The majority of this competency is tied in with ethics, rules of conduct and professionalism. In 2021 it was summaries into the new rules of conduct which can be found on the RICS website, please note the new rules are enforced from 2 February 2022 (02/02/2022 easy to remember).
Why is Client care important?
Client care is important for us surveyors to gain repeat business but also not to damage the reputation of the high standard of the RICS. Damaging your views and credibility can be extremely negative as you will have negative feedback.
Worst you may also avoid getting into situations of claims against you if you provide the service as needed for the client and do not go outside of your scope/jurisdiction. This also applies to being an arbitrator (which I am).
What is client performance feedback?
This is a feedback process as part of your quality management system to gain insights of how well you’re doing to allow you to course correct where necessary. This should be done throughout the engagement, at the end and after engagement to get a well rounded feedback.
This is to ensure that you’re providing the right level of service to their requirement.
Like any quality system, this needs to be monitored and logged to be reviewed for implementation.
What Quality management system would a land surveying company implement?
Any firm, land surveying or quantity surveying, would benefit from a written procedure. It is similar to ISO 9001. However, this is geared solely to quality management for a RICS firm.
The quality management system should include the following:
- a system for preventing conflicts of interest from occurring
- a process for gathering and evaluating information about a potential customer
- Data handling and security processes must be implemented to keep your data safe.
- a process for evaluating and providing feedback on the work of new or inexperienced employees.
- a billing process to charge clients correctly
- a complaints-handling procedure, including how to feedback on lessons learned.
From experience, these should start with policies written up, highlighting the rules of the business and then start implementing these processes and forms up.
How do you conduct yourself with a new client?
You have to be well mannered, well presented , respectful, professional, friendly and enthusiastic.
In terms of winning new work with them, the best way to approach clients is to fully understand their needs and problems. I normally ask them, “why us, why now” this brings up the urgent matters that they are currently struggling. I’ve picked this up from the salesforce.
The conversation with the client should be a form of customer discovery/interview that you can do to acknowledge their problems. The idea is for you to just listen and actively make notes and pick up the right solutions to get to them. it is best to extract as much information out of them before you start selling your service. Interrupting them in the flow would throw them off. I picked this up from Michelle and Terresa. They explained how to interview people to get to know them better using empathy but also how to continuously extract information and problems from your clients, pre, during and post engagement.
There is not a lot of specifics detailed out from the RICS on how to handle yourself with new clients it is something that you can pick up from other industries. I guess that is why there is no manual or content on the main RICS site talking about client care specifically (other than the GBP175.00 course on client care, if it is running). But I’ve drafted an essential guide here on this blog.
I will gather some more content on client care in the following blog post.