The construction marketer must keep informed about marketplace demand and customer requirements. Providing high levels of customer service means you can stay ahead of the competition. This blog presents three elements to consider when delivering effective customer service as part of construction markets.
Identify opportunity in changing construction markets
Construction markets can change, expand or contract, new construction products can enter the market place, all changing the specification landscape. The construction marketer must monitor markets and react to any changes, to ensure they stay in touch with customer demand.
The recent Brexit result has brought this into sharp focus. As a consequence of Brexit we effectively have a new Government and potentially new policy. The weaker Sterling is good for manufacturers exporting to key economies, yet a 3% contraction in construction is predicted for 2017.
Monitoring the market is key to identifying opportunities and delivering what the customer needs.
Develop your people and innovative your construction supply chain
Another consideration when taking into account customer expectation is buying patterns. Gaining understanding of what influences the selection of your construction product is important. This can inform many areas of the business in both marketing and sales. It can also help you deliver innovations in your supply. Perhaps a design service, installation training or working with key customers to develop tailor-made solutions.
Keep one step ahead by answering any changes in market demand. To get to grips with this it is important to conduct regular customer research. Feedback can be gained in a number of ways: via frontline sales staff, a customer satisfaction survey, or perception study. Once you have assessed your customer requirements it is then possible to develop a set of customer satisfaction goals. This is when a regular Net Promoter Score can help monitor your progress against your set goals.
Work collaboratively with key construction clients
Customers are becoming more sophisticated with greater levels of service expected, even from SME’s. Today there are a number of cloud based systems that small companies can take advantage of to be ‘up there’ with the bigger corporates. But Customer service boils down to people working with people. It is about the relationships that are built. Training staff to become the ‘Trusted Advisor’ to the specifier is a clear way forward to delivering customer service expectations.
Another answer is to develop new ways of working together with customers, in the form of Key Account Management. This is not a simple Buyer-Seller relationship, you need to involve people from all aspects of your business and work together with your client’s business to find better ways of doing things. Cost savings are achieved by re-engineering processes, reducing inventory and avoiding unnecessary activity. Cost savings are also achieved as a result of a better understanding of each other’s business, and importantly, are shared by both parties.
Adapting to customer demand is particularly pertinent in the current uncertainty as providing high levels of customer service means you can stay ahead of the competition. Using research, the construction marketer should strive to keep informed of marketplace demand and customer requirements. Once informed of customer requirements a clear set of customer service goals can be drawn up. Training staff and adapting your culture can have a significant impact on achieving these goals. Finally, also consider a Key Account Management approach for some of your more significant customers, working collaboratively to develop innovations that work for both partners, and can potentially be rolled out across your customer base.