Managing project expectations with property owners and managers can be a laborious task provided there are no systems in place to assist in aligning project scope with project budget and timeline. As with most franchises and retail outlets, managing customer expectations is an important aspect to help establish and maintain good client relations. Take the McDonald franchise for instance. Regardless of where you might travel throughout the country, their method of communication, their menu options, the timeliness for which you receive your order and for the most part the prices are relatively the same. Customers know exactly what to expect from their experience.
It's with all certainty, that there's an art to creating methods that help harness customer expectations that comes through trial and error after many years of experience. The longer the experience, the more likelihood for determining what works, what doesn't and what keeps clients coming back. In project renovations, some of the pertinent requirements for managing expectations are:
Communication: The contractor must have a clear understanding of what the owner or property manager is trying to achieve. This means being a good listener as well as having the ability to communicate both written and verbally. Communication can't be one sided, however, it's imperative that the owners and property managers are upfront and open about their project and that all of the necessary plans, drawings and budgets are provided in a timely fashion in order to determine the best approach to attaining project goals.
Don't promise what you can't deliver: Once it's understood what deliverables are expected, the contractor must be honest if pricing, schedule, etc. can't be met. But offer other solutions that can get the client to their intended goals over time without sacrificing quality and scope intent. The contractor as well as owners and managers must be realistic in what can and can't be achieved.
Provide good consultation: Direction, advice and input based on many years of renovation experience is knowledge gained that can't be priced and oftentimes proves profitable for the client.
Relationship building: Building client relationships has a beginning, but not necessarily an end. Throughout the project and long after the project has ended, a good general contractor will continue to be that source of reference for future projects, providing insight into some of the latest developments in the commercial renovation industry.
Managing expectations is a combined effort in the commercial renovation industry between the general contractor and the owner or property manager. For a successful outcome in any renovation project, the tools required to manage project expectations must be in place and utilized.