August 2007Quality is whatever the customer says it is. We must actively reach out in order to identify and understand the needs and desires of our customers if we are going to impress them with great performance. Thinking strategically begins with us, not with our customers. By asking the following questions, you will be able to identify what great performance is from the perspective of your customers.
Once you’ve been awarded the job, review the following items with the GC to make sure you satisfy their requirements. Request that a pre-planning meeting be held to discuss these items:
-Scope of Work: What specifically do you want us to do?
-Budget: Quantity of work; man-hours or man-days to complete the job schedule.
-Quality specifications: Materials and workmanship requirements.
-Procedures: Do you want us to do the work in a certain way? What is the work plan?
-How much work do you expect us to get done each day? Each week?
-By what method can we review progress on the job? Weekly walk-arounds with a key person to monitor and assess how we’re doing can allow for quick action to be taken to resolve problems.
-How often do you want to see the project manager or have communication with him? Service
-How do you define excellent customer service? What is really important to you once we start the job?
-Where do you want us to locate our trailer?
-How long do we have to remove the material and equipment off the job site when the job is finished?
-We’d like to locate the materials when they’re delivered as close to our crew’s working area as possible. Is it okay with you?
-When a problem occurs on a job, how do you want us to handle it? Is there someone you want us to contact when a problem occurs that requires your involvement?
-Can we communicate with you when we see additional work opportunities? To whom should we talk about such opportunities (T&M work)?
-What do you consider to be your biggest obstacles on the job, and how can we help you eliminate them?
-Do our safety requirements coincide with yours? If not, where do we differ, and what are the specifics of your safety requirements? May we have a copy of your safety rules?
-What working conditions will we be exposed to (heat, cold, tight space, etc.)? We need to identify people who can work under those conditions.
-What are your housekeeping requirements?
-What paperwork documentation requirements do you want us to follow? Do you have any special paperwork requirements?
-How do you want us to handle requests for changes or additional work? What about extras? What do you consider billable extras?
-Who has to approve additional work requests before billing taking place?
-What are your billing requirements?
-What do you expect from the foreman and his crew (hours of work, breaks, lunch, wash-up time, leaving at the end of day, washroom facilities)?
-Who do you want attending your jobsite meetings?
-What qualities/skills do you expect a foreman to have?
-What are your job security requirements?
-What areas do we have access to? Which ones should we stay away from? Are there certain times of the day that we can work in certain areas?
-What entrance/exits can we use to deliver and remove equipment/materials from the job site?
When you have the answers to these questions, you will be able to provide your customer with a great performance and provide your company with great referrals.
About the Author
Norb Slowikowski is president of Slowikowski & Associates Inc., Darien, Ill.