People have varying opinions of what constitutes an emergency. When you work as a contractor, builder, or remodeler, when things go awry it can result in a lot of after-hours calls. While mistakes that require immediate attention do happen, you’ve probably also been on the receiving end of many late night and weekend phone calls for non-urgent situations.
Help your clients understand what constitutes an emergency, what doesn’t, and what to do if they encounter a true emergency that may be related to work done by your company. This will not only keep the lines of communication open and clear, it can help to mitigate unnecessary disruptions when you’re off the clock.
When you are discussing their project during the client onboarding process, be sure to go over what they can expect throughout the building or remodeling process. Review the following information so your client will know what to do in the case of an emergency.
1. What constitutes an emergency
- Electricity is lost in a critical part of your home. For example: no heat in the winter or air conditioning in the summer
- Water is leaking and causing damage
- Any potentially dangerous situation that could cause harm to those in the residence and when to call 911
Overall, an emergency is any time sensitive issue (related to your work) that could cause damage to the home or harm to its residents. If the client isn’t sure if the problem is related to your work, they should make you aware immediately so you can assess the situation.
Once you have reviewed what does constitute an emergency with your clients, it’s time to go over what doesn’t.
2. What doesn’t constitute an emergency*
- General questions that could wait until business hours
- The client would like to make changes to the remodeling or building plans
- The client has discovered the wrong product was installed or there has been a non-critical design flaw or building mistake
*When in doubt, make sure the client knows they can and should reach out to you with their concerns.
3. Who to contact in the case of an emergency
There may be different people the client should contact in the case of an emergency, depending on whether the issue is related to plumbing, electricity, natural gas, HVAC, or general work on the home. Instead of providing multiple names and phones numbers for varying issues, you may instead opt to have a single point person who can help the homeowner to determine the source of the issue and the individual they need to contact. Either way, if an urgent matter arises just make sure the homeowner knows who they can contact after-hours or on the weekend.
Every company wants their clients’ projects to run as smoothly as possible. Of course, mistakes happen and sometimes issues pop up that aren’t even related to your work. Regardless, when a home related emergency happens, every client wants to know someone will be available to help. In order to avoid some of those unnecessary after hours calls, communicate clearly to the client that while in the case of an emergency you (or someone from your team) will be available, that not every question or concern warrants disrupting your hard earned time off the clock. Email or text can be a great medium for communication when time is not of the essence.