Do you have a process or “client journey” you follow with every customer?
If you don’t, then I recommend creating one – one that works for your business. It doesn’t have to be highly sophisticated or complicated, unless you want it to be. But it does need to be something that you and your team will actually use. So it makes sense to create a process that everyone is on board with.
There are multiple advantages to having a process in place, including:
Making you look professional to the people who enquire about working with you, so that you’re more likely to win the work,
Ensuring every client gets consistently good customer service, so that more people recommend you to their contacts,
Making it easy for clients to recommend you and give you testimonials or Google reviews, so that you can attract more great clients,
Spreading the workload across the right team members, so that you don’t have your senior staff carrying out tasks that could and should be done by a PA or administrator,
Having an easy way for everyone on the team to find out what’s happening with a specific project, even if the project lead is out of the office, so that projects can run smoothly.
We’ve all been in that position where you’ve asked someone to send you a quote… and two weeks later you’re still waiting.
Putting a process in place – with time-limited goals for elements such as delivering a proposal – will help ensure you never leave people wondering what happened.
Here’s the process we use at Super Structures Associates. You will almost certainly want to modify it to fit your own team, but this simple process has worked well for us for several years. This is set up for an in-person office as my team only works from home one or two days each week, but it could be easily adapted for remote working if needed.
Handling new enquiries
When a new enquiry comes in, my PA creates a folder for it and lets me know I need to deal with it. The simpler enquiries go to my senior engineers to handle, with me checking over each fee quote before it goes out. And I handle the larger or more complex quotations.
Make sure you’re not the bottleneck in your business
Originally I was handling all quotes – often working on them till 11pm at night and all weekend. This meant that not only was I working too much, but that I was slowing things down and acting as a bottleneck, since each quote needed my attention. Empowering my team to work on quotes too has made a huge difference.
Tracking enquiries vs projects
Every single quote goes into a spreadsheet (thanks again to my PA) and when a potential client confirms they want to go ahead, this gets marked in the spreadsheet. Not only does this allow us to record how many enquiries we have vs how many projects we win, it makes it easy to follow-up with anyone who doesn’t come back to us after they receive a quote.
The professional follow-up
One way to set yourself apart in this sector, is to have a good system for following up. This benefits you in several ways. Firstly, if you follow-up consistently this marks you out as a professional – someone who is organised and committed to good customer service.
Secondly, it makes it more likely that you’ll win the project and, thirdly, it could give you a chance to get feedback if the customer decides not to go with you – so you can learn and improve on what you’re doing.
My PA will follow up in multiple ways – by email and on the phone – as different people have different modes of communication they prefer.
Knowing your numbers
This system works well for us, and for our clients. In 2019 we landed 40% of the projects we quoted for.
And what’s brilliant about recording figures like this, is that it means you know how many enquiries you need to get, to generate the amount of work you need to have coming in to keep the business growing. If you only take two things away from this article, then tracking your enquiries vs the number of projects you bring on board, and following up with all enquiries after you’ve sent out their quote are the two most important steps in this process.
If you need help or advice with this, or if you need assistance with the structural elements of an upcoming project, please do get in touch.