Client services in a subcontracting environment
At Dymond we are lucky that we have great relationships with both our suppliers and our subcontract clients; although we do find that the harder we work the luckier we get (thank you Samuel Goldwyn). And excellent client services in a subcontracting environment is one of the keys to “being lucky”
I attended a seminar a little while ago, and the topic of bad service came up for debate, we know how bad service feels. We have all been left on hold for too long or have been the victim of unhelpful or rude ‘customer service’. It wastes our time and money and/or leaves us feeling frustrated and unimpressed with said company or enterprise that fell short.
According to a Forbes survey, when questioned about their willingness to switch brands or companies for better service, the customers asked responded with a resounding “yes” to switching. 96% of customers said that they will leave because of bad service. 96%!
And to break that down further:
27.9% said they are extremely willing to switch to have a better customer service experience
32.7% are very willing to switch
35.5% are somewhat willing to switch
Whichever sector you are in, customer acquisition is time-consuming and costly, so keeping hold of your client base should be a major part of any business plan – and so often it is overlooked in the quest for new-clients.
I looked around for people’s pet peeves and in addition to being left on hold and bad customer service, I found:
- Difficulty in reaching a live customer service representative
- Lack of response to inquiries or complaints
- Inadequate resolution of issues or problems
- False advertising or deceptive marketing
- Hidden fees or unexpected charges
- Pushy or aggressive sales techniques
- Difficulty cancelling subscriptions or services
- Data Breaches and Privacy Violations
- Long wait times in lines or for service
- Inaccessible facilities for individuals with disabilities
Not even one of those mentions product quality, or, more specifically, the lack of product quality.
It seems that good service will get you through times of unreliable products better that reliable products will get you through times of bad service. (Thank you the Freak Brothers – adapted).
Assuming, though, that your product quality is a given because your processes, teams, and raw materials are all in great shape – then it is service that will mark you out for long term success.
Here is what we have learned over the years both at Dymond and in previous roles. In the intricate dance of subcontracting, where multiple entities collaborate to bring projects to fruition, the role of excellent client service is nothing short of pivotal.
Subcontractors who consistently prioritise and excel in client service set themselves apart and foster long-lasting partnerships that pave the way for mutual success. Exceptional client service is the cornerstones upon which subcontracting excellence is built. And here are a few specifics.
Clear communication: the foundation of trust
In any subcontracting relationship, clarity and transparency in communication form the bedrock of trust. Clients rely on subcontractors to deliver on promises, and this trust is built through effective communication. When subcontractors take the time to establish open and honest lines of dialogue, clients feel heard, valued, and confident in the partnership.
Clear communication goes beyond just conveying information. It’s about listening actively, understanding client needs, and addressing concerns promptly. Whether it’s discussing project goals, timelines, or addressing unexpected challenges, effective communication is the thread that weaves trust into the fabric of the subcontractor-client relationship.
Responsiveness: timely and reliable
Subcontracting often involves detailed timelines and interdependencies among different project phases. In this context, responsiveness is not just an asset but a necessity. Clients expect subcontractors to be timely and reliable in their responses to inquiries and concerns. Timely responses instil confidence and ensure that projects stay on track.
In subcontracting, reliability extends beyond meeting deadlines and commitments. It encompasses the reliability of the subcontractor’s work itself. Consistently delivering quality work on time is a testament to the subcontractor’s dependability and reliability.
Flexibility and adaptability: meeting evolving needs
The dynamic nature of client services in a subcontracting environment demands flexibility and adaptability. Projects can evolve, and client needs may change. Subcontractors who excel in this quality possess the ability to pivot and adapt to shifting requirements seamlessly.
For instance, when a client’s vision evolves during the project, a flexible subcontractor can adjust their approach, offer alternatives, and find creative solutions that align with the new direction. This adaptability is an advantage in delivering outcomes that truly meet the client’s objectives.
Attention to detail: quality assurance
Attention to detail is the hallmark of quality assurance. Subcontractors who demonstrate meticulousness in their work ensure that every aspect of the project meets or exceeds the client’s expectations. From precise measurements to flawless finishes, this guarantees that the end result is a reflection of excellence.
Quality assurance isn’t just about catching and correcting errors; it’s about preventing them in the first place. The meticulous subcontractor understands that every detail matters and that even the smallest oversight can have far-reaching consequences.
Problem-solving: turning challenges into opportunities
Subcontracting isn’t without its challenges, and problem-solving is a skill that can make or break a project. Exceptional subcontractors view challenges as opportunities for growth and innovation. They approach problems with a can-do attitude and a determination to find effective solutions.
Whether it’s addressing unexpected delays, supply chain disruptions, or design revisions, adept problem-solving keeps projects moving forward. Moreover, the ability to collaborate with clients and other stakeholders to navigate challenges is a testament to the subcontractor’s resourcefulness and commitment to success.
Transparency and honesty: building lasting relationships
Honesty and transparency are qualities that lay the foundation for lasting client relationships. Clients appreciate subcontractors who are forthright about challenges, limitations, and potential risks. When subcontractors communicate openly and honestly, it fosters trust and sets the stage for effective problem-solving.
Transparent communication also includes budget transparency. Clients should have a clear understanding of project costs, potential overruns, and how any changes in scope might impact the budget. When subcontractors are transparent about financial matters, it demonstrates integrity and builds credibility.
Consistency: reliability over time
Consistency extends over the duration of a partnership. Subcontractors who consistently deliver high-quality work project after project earn the trust and loyalty of their clients. This reliability creates a sense of security for clients, knowing they can rely on the subcontractor to meet their expectations consistently.
Clients who have experienced consistent service quality are more likely to return for future projects and recommend the subcontractor to others. Consistency is, in many ways, the hallmark of a trusted subcontractor-client relationship.
Going the extra mile: exceeding expectations
While meeting client expectations is a fundamental goal, exceptional subcontractors aim higher. They seek opportunities to go the extra mile, exceeding client expectations in the process. This is not just about delivering what was promised; it’s about delivering more.
Whether it’s offering creative design suggestions, providing value-added services, or addressing unforeseen challenges without hesitation, going the extra mile elevates the client experience. Clients remember and appreciate subcontractors who not only meet their needs but also surprise them with exceptional service.
Client-centric approach: tailoring services
A client-centric approach means tailoring services to meet each client’s unique needs and goals. It’s about understanding that every client is different and customising services accordingly. Subcontractors who prioritise clients ensure that the client feels valued and understood.
For example, in subcontracting, a client-centric approach might involve adjusting project timelines to accommodate a client’s specific event or optimising the design to align with the client’s brand identity. It’s about putting the client’s vision and objectives at the forefront of every decision.
Continuous improvement: commitment to excellence
Last but not least, a commitment to continuous improvement keeps subcontractors on a path of excellence. Subcontractors who seek to enhance their skills, processes, and service offerings are better positioned to meet evolving client needs and industry trends.
Continuous improvement involves seeking client feedback, learning from past projects, and staying updated on industry best practices. This drives subcontractors to not just meet but exceed client service expectations consistently.
In the multifaceted world of subcontracting, excellent client service is not just an art; it’s a strategic imperative. Subcontractors who embody virtues such as clear communication, responsiveness, flexibility, attention to detail, problem-solving, transparency, consistency, going the extra mile, a client-centric approach, and a commitment to continuous improvement are not only exceptional service providers but also trusted partners in success.
Exceptional client services in a subcontracting environment isn’t a one-time effort; it’s a commitment to excellence that spans the duration of a subcontractor-client relationship. When subcontractors prioritise these facets, they not only meet client expectations but also build lasting relationships that lead to mutual growth and success. In the end, the virtues of outstanding client service are the pillars upon which subcontracting excellence is built, ensuring that projects are completed not just successfully but with exceptional client satisfaction.