4. Ensure Satisfied Clients
Hitting high profit and project numbers without paying attention to client satisfaction will only hurt your business in the long run, in the form of negative reviews and fewer repeat clients. So it’s important to manage expectations from the get-go, and that starts and ends with regular, honest communication and scheduling.
“Try to exceed expectations by not promising things early,” interior designer Joe Sturgill says. Interior designer Andrea Fava takes a similar route: “We have learned over time to be very, very, very clear from the beginning, so it’s managing the expectations ahead of time and almost making it worse than it hopefully will be. It’s underpromising [and] overdelivering, so you can make them happier that way rather than always sharing bad news,” she says.
As the project progresses, keep clients in the loop to avoid any unexpected and costly changes. “We text our clients daily to keep them informed of conditions, delays and progress,” builder Bill Varian says. Tools like Houzz Pro’s shareable daily log, which can include detailed notes and project photos, can save you the trouble of messaging everyone individually, and ensure that no one falls through the communication cracks.
Houzz Pro eliminates the need for lengthy phone conversations and emails with clients. “The rewards are honestly revolutionary for us, because before all of our communication with clients used to be via email or phone call, and now we can place products right into a project room on Houzz Pro,” John McClain says. “We can then put all of those items into a nice clear proposal that the client can take and approve line by line. I particularly love the fact that clients can approve and decline each line item, because it allows them to feel that they have control over the project.”
Jones also provides “regular updates to our clients, so their impatience and frustration are not misdirected and produce trust issues between us going forward,” she says. Her team also checks in regularly with clients about things like product selections and possible alterations, and discusses any “shifts to the timeline in an attempt to alleviate any other disruptions.”
And don’t forget to make clients aware of their role in keeping the project on track. “I give clients the heads-up in advance of decisions and payments,” designer Tara Veith says. “I alert them that indecision will extend their timeline and possibly increase their costs.”