The best way to improve communication is to write a communication policy that outlines your plan to exchange information between clients, vendors and employees. For example, when handling potential clients who have expressed an interest in your services, you may want to create a new client communication policy that defines what steps should be taken in process.
- Respond to new client contacts with a welcome email within two hours.
- Schedule new client meetings within 24 hours.
- Provide client with company information, insurance certificate and references at first meeting.
- Submit proposal within 48 hours following the first meeting.
- Follow up with phone call within 24 hours of submitting proposal to ensure client has received it.
- Follow up phones will ask for client feedback, identify areas of hesitation or concern, ask for client to confirm accuracy in written scope of work, clearly identify next step in sales process (revise proposal to reflect any changes, sign a contract, follow up meeting at property, etc.).
- Maintain a documented record of all calls and emails with dates and times of each conversation. For each correspondence, clearly identify what the next step will be.
You can see from the example above that at no time during the process are you left wondering what the next step is. Think of this as a large flowchart taking information from each conversation and using it to make decisions about what to do next. Obviously the goal is to convert the prospect into a client while ensuring a clear, well documented scope of work.
Using a documented method of communication for each area of your business will prevent many of the headaches that can quickly become overwhelming. The bottom line is to remember that most problems are predictable and preventable when you take the time to simply think them through and develop a plan.
This example is part of the feature Hard knocks: Don’t let your hardscape projects suffer by neglecting these five details.