Promises, promises, promises

Andy Ball, managing director of Balls2 Marketing, discusses how clear, open and honest communications are crucial for maintaining customer relationships in times of crisis.

We’ve all been in that situation, where we’re promised delivery of something in time for what we need it for; whether it’s a birthday gift, a rental car or the week’s groceries, we have all felt the pain of being let down.

It’s not always avoidable, but in the main I think most of us would be happier if companies were up-front with us about delivery days right from the off-set.

The entire British building industry is facing incredible challenges with supply at the moment. The boom in the home improvement market has driven demand, while supply and prices are affected by Brexit, the lagging effects of Covid, and logistical challenges exacerbated by the Suez Canal blockage. Many builders can’t get the basic of supplies – plaster, cement, roof tiles – and unfortunately plastic, aluminium and glass is following suit.

With the level of supply issues being faced by the entire construction industry right now, I think there is a certain level of understanding out there, at least from people in the trade. But still, if they are made a promise on a product arriving one day, and are told the day before that it’s not going to happen, works schedules have to be changed last minute. This causes them extra hassle, no doubt followed by some grief from the homeowner who wants their new doors in for a family barbecue next week.

This is where honest and open communication with customers is crucial. Nobody wants to be in a situation where they can’t stick to their usual standards of lead times and pricing, but with these industry-wide supply problems, it’s much less likely that you can.

Pivoting your customer comms strategy now could save everyone a lot of hassle in the future, and maintaining relationships in times of need also builds a level of trust and loyalty that money can’t buy – no matter what the price increase.