By Matt Doyle, VP and Co-Founder of Excel Builders, a truly unique custom home builder, creating homes that make every day easier.
Have you ever had a project fall apart because of miscommunication? If you have, you know that it’s a disaster. You can lose a significant amount of invested resources. You may also be targeted by negative reviews that harm your reputation for years.
There are steps you can take to protect yourself. One of the most meaningful steps is to establish a single point of contact between your team and your clients. A point of contact is a person your clients can approach to leave messages or request clarification on any issue.
Your clients should not be stuck reaching out to a different person for account issues, management issues and questions. Over my years of managing large-scale and long-term projects for my home construction business, I have learned a lot about why this matters.
Let’s start by looking at why clients need a point of contact. Then, I’ll cover how to choose an employee who can serve in this important role.
Why Clients Need A Single Point Of Content
You need to establish a single point of contact with your clients because it helps you keep better records, keep them in the loop and provide better service.
Strong records are important for all types of projects, but they’re vital for big projects. You need to know what requests the client has made and what changes have been negotiated. When you have a single point of contact, you only need to review a single set of communications to get the whole history of your interactions with a client.
Having a single point of contact also helps your client stay on track. When your client is receiving all their communication from one person, they know whose messages are the most important in their inbox. That helps them stay organized.
Your clients also need to know that someone will respond promptly when they need customer service. When you have one employee who has the job of handling that client, you can be assured that their messages will be read and responded to quickly.
How To Choose The Right Point Of Contact
You should choose the right employee to be a single point of contact. This isn’t necessarily a job for an assistant. I like to choose someone who has a decent amount of experience at the company.
Experience is important because the contact needs to be someone who can understand the questions that clients ask. It also helps if they understand the operations of the business well enough that they can help a client understand how feasible a request is on short notice.
They should be able to answer simple questions, and even some complex ones, without kicking it up to a higher-level member of the team. If they do need to kick a question up to a higher-level team member, they should know which one to ask.
An experienced accounts manager or project manager makes an excellent point of contact. They know your operations. They can effectively answer the questions that your client has in most cases, and they have the authority to make some important calls without needing to involve other people.
While it’s important that every client has a single point of contact, remember that it doesn’t need to be the same person for every project. An employee’s role as point of contact should be an extension of their ownership of a project — you shouldn’t make communication their only job.
Make A Better Impression On Your Clients
Establishing a single point of contact will allow you to manage your most important clients more effectively. You understand what role a point of contact plays in helping you keep better records, keep your client on track and create excellent customer service.
You also understand what kind of employee should be handling this kind of responsibility. It needs to be someone who is experienced, has some level of authority and has the time to devote to a select few clients.
Use these standards to create a communication plan that will help you make the best impression on your clients.