There are certain situations where you fall short of a customer’s expectations, particularly when it comes to parts of the process that are beyond your control. What’s one of the most common complaints? Timing.
When faced with such a complaint, you should first ask, “Is it really taking too long?” And by the way, if the pace of your projects has slowed recently, it may have been intentional–slowing the process to deliver a higher-quality installation or a better customer experience overall.
Of course, delays could be the result of any number of factors, especially in these COVID-19 times. Are your suppliers taking longer than usual? Are your own people making ordering mistakes that must be remedied with returns and reorders? Have recent staff changes negatively affected your productivity? If you notice that any of these things are happening, you are closer to identifying what needs to be addressed.
Answering the following questions may also yield more insight...
- How many days does it take to do an evaluation or audit?
- How many days does it take to produce and deliver your one-page proposal?
- How many days does it take to close that proposal?
- How many days does it take to convert that signed agreement to a deposit, which is often a prerequisite for ordering material for the job?
- How many days does it take to perform the survey, assemble a list of required material, and generate an order for that material?
- How many days does it take for the materials to be shipped to you?
- How many days does it take to schedule the labor?
- How many days does it take for the labor to be completed?
If you do a critical breakdown of how long it takes to complete each of the above-referenced steps, you’ll see which stages of the process have been most problematic from a timing perspective. You’ll also be well on your way to setting (and meeting!) reasonable expectations for improved project timing going forward.