This might be hard to believe, but every now and then, problems arise during construction. Problems lead to someone getting some bad news, and, let’s face it, one of the hardest things to do is giving someone bad news. It can be as little as “That’s not the right paint color” to as major as “The subcontractor’s truck has a flat.” No matter how big or small, it is never an easy conversation. In my experience working at REDCOM (where I have dealt with more clients than anywhere else in my past), I’ve learned that communication is key.
However, there is more to communication than just bad news. Not all communication between the client and myself should be about issues and problems. Whether it was a change order or an environmental concern, I had gotten used to giving and receiving bad news – to the point that when my phone rang, I knew who was calling before looking. A sixth sense almost.
And then I thought, “How does the client feel when he sees MY name come up on HIS phone?” Does he know that I’m the one calling before he looks at his phone? Does he think all I do is call for issues? So my advice to you is this. Learn from me, and communicate with the owner more than just the bad news and all of the problems going on. Contact them when there are good things happening. “We passed inspection!” “We just saved you money!” “We’re ahead of schedule!” The thing about good news is that it doesn’t even have to be work related. Ask about their weekend, their holiday, their kids, their spouse, their business, or just the weather. Small talk can go a long way in building a working relationship where reaching agreements comes easier. Maybe even a friendship.
And even more important… Don’t give someone bad news without having a solution lined up… or at least a plan to get to a solution. If there is no solution, you better have a good explanation as to why there isn’t one.
In conclusion, don’t only be the bearer of bad news. Mix it up. Throw some good news into your phone calls, emails, or texts, and that terrible, cringing feeling when your phone rings at noon on a Saturday (queue horror music), won’t be so terrifying.
— Written by one of REDCOM’s very own