The Importance of Transparent Communication During Flood or Fire Restoration

Professionals in the cleaning and restoration industry must possess a skill set that’s both wide-ranging and deep. They need to master the latest in restoration technologies and techniques, health and safety, and environmental laws. Another skill set that restoration professions should master, which is just as important as those aforementioned, is customer service — specifically, transparent communication. 

Property owners reeling from a flood or a fire are often experiencing one of the most challenging moments of their lives. For that reason, it’s important that restoration professionals be adept at managing client relationships and providing stellar, trustworthy communications. Indeed, even if a restoration company is the best in the industry at rebuilding a structure, they still risk losing business and garnering poor reviews if they’re not able to have a productive dialogue with their clients. 

So, how can you be transparent and trustworthy in your communication during the restoration process? Here are a handful of key tactics:

Make yourself available. When you begin the restoration process, clients are placing one of their most valued possessions — their home or business — in your hands. For that reason, they will expect regular updates on your progress and any challenges you may be encountering. Restoration professionals should make sure that they’re always available to answer questions and provide updates; it’s vital that phone calls, texts, and emails don’t go unanswered. In fact, restoration professionals should proactively give their clients regular updates, even if the client hasn’t explicitly requested them. 

Share your approach. While the ins-and-outs of the restoration industry may not be apparent to your clients, it’s still worth walking them through the steps you’re taking to repair their home or business. Sit down and talk clients through the timeline of the project, the tools and techniques you will be using, and why you selected those specific tools and techniques. Clients will appreciate you providing a window into the process and it will help them feel engaged. 

Prioritize sensitivity. As mentioned earlier, your clients are undergoing what can often be a traumatic experience. It’s crucial to train office and field staff not just in administration and restoration, but also how to best interact with emotional clients. Your communication should always be reassuring and positive. Let anxious homeowners or business owners know that while this is a difficult period, you are professionals who’ve done this many times before — and that they’ll be back to normal in a relatively short time.

Use the latest communications tools. Today, there’s no shortage of software and other technologies that allow restoration professionals to track projects in fine detail. You can use these tools to save photos, stay in touch with clients and insurance carriers, and more. When you master these tools, they allow you to create a clear snapshot of the restoration process at a moment’s notice — and then easily share that snapshot with the property owners. 

Check in regularly about communication. It’s important to correspond regularly with your clients about how they’re finding the restoration process, but also how you’re communicating about it. Check in often and ask if they’d like more updates, fewer updates, or any other changes to the communication style. An open dialogue will ensure that there isn’t any miscommunication. 

It may not seem obvious, but transparent communication is an incredibly important skill set for cleaning and restoration professionals to master. As you work with clients during a challenging time, the dialogues you have will go a long way. 

Ron Fanish

Ron Fanish is co-owner of Rainbow International Restoration of Westchester, a full-service, one-stop-shop for restoration, cleaning, and reconstruction based in Westchester County, NY. For more information, visit www.RBWWestchester.com.

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