Customer Relationship Management: Why Good Relationships Are Good Business in Construction

 Businesses depend on the development and maintenance of vital relations with employees, business partners, suppliers, customers — any person or entity that is involved in the business process. Companies that intentionally cultivate and maintain connections may be more successful than those that ignore these connections, it can also be defined as an association between individuals or companies entered into for commercial purposes and sometimes formalized with legal contracts or agreements. Relationship management aims to create a partnership between an organization and its patrons, instead of viewing the relationship as merely transactional. Most often relationship building occurs at the customer level, but it is valuable between businesses as well. A business may hire a relationship manager to oversee relationship building or it may combine this function with another marketing or human-resources role. There are 2 types of customer relationships as listed above;

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)- B to C businesses rely on customer relationship management (CRM) tools to build a solid rapport with their customers. CRM involves a significant amount of data and sales analysis, as it seeks to understand market trends, the economic landscape, and consumer tastes. CRM also can include marketing techniques and a post-sales support program. Typically, a CRM program will comprise written media, such as sales announcements, newsletters, and post-sale surveys; and video media communication like commercials, and tutorials. Ongoing marketing is critical to a business, as it is costlier to acquire a new customer than it is to maintain a current customer. Marketing helps a business to gauge consumers’ interests and needs, and develop campaigns to maintain loyalty.
  • Business Relationship Management (BRM)- B-to-B relationships with vendors, suppliers, distributors, and other associates also can benefit from relationship management. Business relationship management (BRM) promotes a positive and productive relationship between a company and its business partners. BRM seeks to build trust, solidify rules and expectations, and establish boundaries; it also can help with dispute resolutions, contract negotiations, and cross-sale opportunities.

How to Maintain Customer Relationship

  1. Plan and Collaborate with Construction Project Owners- Contractors should include the building owner or representative in face-to-face planning meetings with the construction team. Everyone must overcome several obstacles including the budget, schedule and unforeseen conditions. The team needs to be working against these variables, not against each other. This close collaboration between the customer, contractor, design team and construction team effectively reduces risk, animosity and expenses.
  2. Be consistent with quality- This is one of the primary tips to assure the most long-lasting customer relationship management. Your premium product or service quality is the thing that has pulled in traffic for you in the first place and your customer would get back to you expecting the same service every time. Thus, any slack here would make you lose out on your loyal clientele.
  3. Establish Constant Communication Among Project Stakeholders- Miscommunication, assumptions and non-communication lead to most mistakes, cost overruns, lawsuits and accidents on jobs. Each project should have a communication plan and strategy. Technology can be harnessed to leverage your communication efforts. Email distribution lists, project websites, project photos, iPhones and iPads all make it easier and faster to communicate clearly and accurately. Savvy contractors use this real-time information to manage the perceptions of all stakeholders. By keeping the building owner in the loop and up-to-date with both good news and occasional missteps, the contractor will maintain a comfortable dialogue with the client.

Benefits of Business Relationships

  1. Relationships Create an Image-  Through fostering relationships you can bring a human face to your organization, one that customers can relate to and even come to love. This I the reason some companies create cute avatars to reply enquires from clients and new prospects, this creates for the company a friendly and helpful face. Therefore, when you keep a constant and open trail of communication with your clients, keeping them abreast of everything concerning the project and answering questions, it creates a trustworthy and competent face for you as the contractor.
  2. Business relationships bring repeat business- In reality, growing a business to the point of commercial success requires building a large pool of loyal, repeat customers. Attracting one-time customers who come once and never return won’t help your business grow in the long term. Building relationships with current clients will have them coming back to you whenever a new project arises, you go from being “just another contractor” into a brand they know and trust. Plus, a customer is more likely to be forgiving of a minor mistake committed by a company that they like than a blunder perpetrated by one that they feel no connection to.
  3. Business relationships foster friendship- Business relationships can turn into long-term—or even lifetime—friendships. And it goes without saying that being friends with someone is more than being just an employee, or customer, or business associate. With friendship comes trust, fun, and lots more. By building business relationships, you will have more friends, and you will get more value from them, just as they will from you.
  4. Business relationships help promote your business- People are eager to refer their friends and family members to a business that they truly believe in, people trust a word-of-mouth referral from their nearest and dearest and that’s why it is important that you forge a relationship of trust and respect with every customer that comes through your doors. A customer reached via word of mouth is a sold customer. Such customers have no doubts about your business because they have come to know your business through people who know and are satisfied with your business.
  5. Business relationships improves teamwork- While it is important to create positive relationships outside of your organization, it is also vital to nurture healthy and respectful relationships within your company. By treating them with respect and applauding their successes (no matter how small), you will increase their productivity, their commitment to their jobs, and their contributions to the growth of your business.

When done right, strong business relationships when established and maintained is the key to success.

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