In an industry that is traditionally lacking in the area of customer service, we at Blach Construction have always felt that we do a pretty good job in this department.
We hire and develop people who have both strong technical and communication skills and our teams employ a highly collaborative approach with an intense focus on preconstruction to deliver consistently smooth and high-performance construction phases. We ask questions, understand our clients’ needs and goals, and then make them our own. Sounds pretty good, right?
Despite our customer-centric focus, we started asking ourselves, how do we take our customers’ experiences from good to great? After all, our somewhat audacious tagline is “Together. Building Greatness.” So after a lot of research, as well as studying the very best customer service organizations (especially those outside our industry), we’ve implemented a new customer service initiative.
First, we realized that we needed to actually define the service principles and standards that will guide our work not only with clients, but also among Blach team members. All Blach employees are being trained to incorporate these standards into their daily interactions with clients, partners and each other, with the understanding that this is how we will be measuring our service performance going forward.
The second part of this initiative is all about measurement. We are meeting with clients to solicit their feedback before, during and after projects. The pre-project meeting seeks to understand clients’ past experiences, their preferences, communication style, and their goals for the project. This information is delivered to the team so they can begin the project with this information built-in.
Mid-way through the project, we meet once again to measure how we are performing against the information we learned in the pre-project survey, as well as a set of specific criteria we have defined as key attributes of a team’s successful performance. Again, it is key that the project team receive this feedback in real time in order to make any necessary changes in their approach.
Once a project is completed, we come back and do a final survey, which is a repeat of the mid-project survey. Ideally, we will see improvements in the project team’s scores in areas, if any, that were less than exemplary. All of this data is compiled and stored in our customer resource management (CRM) database so we can measure clients’ satisfaction over time and multiple projects. The data also serves as a key component of each employee’s annual performance review.
The early results are compelling. We are achieving a higher level of understanding of our clients’ needs and how they define success. Our people are clearly building upon their (already very good) customer service skills and our clients are experiencing greater satisfaction on their projects. And we as a company are developing even stronger relationships with our clients.