You know I’ve come to understand that building decks is similar to about any other skilled trade. And it’s similar to anything else you’re wanting to build in your life. And much of what you hear from others is true – the difference in being good and being the best (or at least striving to being the best) comes down to communication.
Communicating with our clients effectively is a big part of why we’ve been in business for a long time. This involves not only communication from our side (design, installation, etc), but communication from our clients. Even with a design, they may change a thought here or there during installation. This is certainly understandable. We try to act as a sounding board and guide (what can be done, what can’t be done, other changes that are affected, and so on).
The bottom line is that it’s going to be the clients’ outdoor space for a long time. They will be living with it and enjoying it…and they are the customer. They may not like your answer (eg. a project change that cannot be accommodated structurally). But honest, forthright communication is best no matter what. Sometimes clients (well, anyone for that matter) want to be listened to…and that’s ok. I firmly believe that the best project work we’ve done correlated with strong communication with those clients.
As far as the smaller things such as whether a member of my team or a client is running late to an agreed-to appointment. I think it’s fair to pick up the phone and call or text. Our time is important…and I know our clients’ is as well. These small things are the hallmark of professionalism and will always strengthen a relationship.
What are your thoughts?