Congratulations on landing that big project! Now that it’s time for work to get underway, here are some steps you can take to ensure a good relationship with your client and manage the project smoothly.
Onboard the Client
Onboarding is the processes of welcoming a client into your business. On one level, it involves administrative tasks like entering their information into your accounting software and adding their project to your project management applications, but on another it’s about building a solid working relationship with them. This is crucial to a successful business. According to a study by Forrester Research, landing new clients can cost up to five times more than retaining current customers. In addition, referrals from happy clients account are more likely to result in new business than cold calls.
What’s the key to keeping clients satisfied? The Harvard Business Review reports that the single most effective way to please a client is to “make it easy.
Making it easy means the work runs smoothly without you having to pester the client for additional information or without them feeling the need to call you to ask when work is going to get underway. Much of this can be accomplished if your business and project management processes are integrated. For example, with Qfactor for Land Surveyors, once a proposal is marked as won all of the client’s information is migrated into QuickBooks. At the end of the project, it automatically bills the client and emails them their drawings when the invoice is paid. Qfactor also helps you generate timelines you can share with the client so they know how the project will unfold.
That way a client is never wondering when they are going to be billed or get the work they paid for.
Prep Your Team
To get your field team ready, prepare a packet with all the research including prior surveys of the land and information about deeds and plats. This packet should also include a map with the location of the job. Go over the packet with them to clarify the scope of work, making sure they have all relevant contacts and know how to record their hours.
Qfactor facilitates this research by automatically querying title companies and compiling relevant documents into one folder. It also generates a map using Google Earth. Your team can access this folder from anywhere, including in the field, using the Qfactor app. The app is also integrated with eBility so the team can track their hours right on their phone from the field.
Host a Kick-off Meeting
Even though you have everything set up in your project management software, it’s a good idea to meet with the client in person to go over the contract and make sure they understand the scope of work. This will help you avoid scope creep and give you a chance to build a relationship with your client. At the meeting introduce them to the team leader and review the timeline with them. As I wrote in my proposal-writing series, your client might be unfamiliar with land surveying terminology. Use the kick-off meeting to clarify all the details with them and take the first step to a lasting client relationship that could net you lucrative referrals in the future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fred Dyste is the CEO of BizWatt and the lead developer of its flagship software, Qfactor. Fred has over 30 years of experience working with startups and early stage companies. Over the past 10-years he’s worked with solar and fiber optic companies resolving project budget and profitability issues. He knew there had to a better way to achieve these results so he created Qfactor.
He also made a living swinging a hammer; able to work trades from form to finish. Have a question for Fred?