Getting Goldilocks zone of customer support
Written By Jim Mitchell
eVolve MEP software for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing with Revit.

“Underpromise and overperform.” That’s a mantra in business that can virtually assure positive customer experience. In just three words, it summarizes an ideal to impress your client, provide an efficient process, and (likely) get a recurring customer–which everyone likes.

The question for everyone, though, is “Who’s my customer?” In construction, the answer to that is uncomfortably long: every stakeholder involved in the project is, in his or her own way, a customer. Up and down the production chain, you’ve got people looking at your work–whether they’re a financier or a general contractor or an architect or a tradesman–looking at information that’s important to them, regardless of if you’re dealing with them directly.

The common currency that every stakeholder deals in is information. Yes, money is how we all get paid, and the final product we’re providing is a structure of some sort, but while that project is going on, the most valuable thing we’re trading is information on the project. And the way to “overperform” when dealing in information is to make the information as simple, easy, timely and comprehensive for the customer to digest as possible.

In BIM, you can access a multitude of information, from spec changes to material to schedules. The trick to overperforming for a client is to know what your customers want and need, and when they want and need that information. Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, too much information is overwhelming; too little is not helpful. You’ve got to find the “just right” middle. If you’ve worked with one of these customers before–like a general contractor or an engineer–you’ve likely discovered how they want reports. That gives you a leg-up on new projects.

But if you’re working with a new partner in the workflow, you’re going to have a “discovery” period where you and the stakeholder have to identify how they want to get information from you as well as how you want to get updates from them. This can be a tricky exchange in any business relationship, but especially in construction because every project is different. You don’t want this discovery process to be long and drawn out: using weeks or months to finally settle on a set of data can cost valuable time and resources. You also don’t want to shortcut the process by handing them a set of pre-formatted reports and saying, “Here, you figure it out.”

The value in the “underpromise and overperform” motto is setting expectations. Find out what your “customers” up and down the workflow need, particularly the first time you’re working with them. Perhaps have them walk you through the last project they worked on so you can anticipate changes as the project moves forward. Yes, there will be standard things common to every build, but there will be tweeks in information based on where they
are in the schedule and who they’re dealing with. If you find out what your customer’s customers need, and you can help your customer fulfill that need, you’re well on your way to earning your next contract.

Project status meetings are a great time to ensure everyone knows what’s needed, and you can schedule the delivery of information just like you schedule a shipment of material to a job site. Ask the people you’re working with directly “What are you going to need to know tomorrow (or next week, or in two weeks)?” This lets you know your customer’s expectations, as well as what their customers’ expectations are. It lets you prepare ahead of time to foresee and overcome any potential pending problems with the key commodity in construction: information.

Contact your eVolve MEP consultant to learn how our platform can help you “overperform” on customer deliverables.

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