Mastering Client Satisfaction: Service Design Strategies for Builders

In the construction industry, client experience can dictate the altitude of business success. Owning it gives your business a competitive advantage.

Anita T is an award-winning marketing consultant with 15+ years of experience.

In the construction industry, the satisfaction of your client can dictate the altitude of success. Builders often seek ways to improve client trust and smooth out their build process so for one, they are less stressed, but so is the client. One practical pathway to get there can be found in service design.

Why Service Design for Construction?

At its core, service design orchestrates an experience where every action, from initial bid to the final handover aligns business and client. A recent study into the user of service design in the construction industry suggests that while most construction firms recognise the need for effective service design, most still treat it as "off the radar" (Service Design for Marketing in Construction, 2018). This means firms that do have it on the radar, could achieve a competitive advantage in the market.

The Strategic Advantages of Service Design

  • Improved Client Relationships: Service design methodologies help facilitate stronger, trust-based client relationships.
  • Improved Efficiency: Syncing project objectives with client expectations reduces costly reworks and accelerates project completion.
  • Competitive Advantage: Firms that improve their customer experience boast higher retention rates and strengthened brand reputation.

Bill Gates once said that success is a lousy teacher because it seduces smart people into thinking they 'can't lose'. In a hot market, looking at sales as a benchmark is easy, but what are you missing out on? (Schultz, 2018).

Customer satisfaction is essential for business survival. In research on customer's perceptions of quality of services provided by builders in Victoria, customers had the highest satisfaction level for 'customer service' when working with high volume-builders, but higher confidence in structural integrity when working with smaller builders. (Argaw, 2021).

If smaller builders can improve their customer experience, they'll achieve a competitive advantage that helps them grow.

Practical Steps for Implementing Service Design

  1. Start at the Beginning: Service design doesn't start at sign-off, it starts as early as when the client is considering a builder.
  2. Team Up: Service design is an ongoing approach to smooth out the build experience across all project stages. For example, if marketing is operating in isolation from project management, it risks limiting designed experience to a transactional one. Service design offers a means for key parties to co-develop improved outcomes.
  3. Look Beyond Cost: Contractors can be focused on driving down costs, rather than improving experience. This weakens perceived company value longer term.
  4. Use Feedback Loops: Find means to receive client feedback at different milestones of the project and use this information to shift communications as required.
  5. Leverage Tech: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and project management software all support service design principles. These tools can help in maintaining clear communications and manage client expectations.
  6. Work with a Professional: Working with a third-party with expertise in service design, like myself, can offer an independent lens to help navigate stakeholder cohesion. Hit me up.

Integrating service design thoughtfully into your marketing and project management practices, will support client satisfaction and strengthen your reputation as a builder.

You may also be interested in marketing resources for construction companies.


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