Poor communication between subcontractor and client can be disastrous. In rail infrastructure it can lead to the loss of thousands, even millions of pounds, a PR catastrophe or even a life-threatening incident on site.
Regular client updates play a crucial part in ensuring your works are delivered safely and paid for in full. They keep clients in the loop on key issues on site, progress of works and other high level KPIs.
The reliability and professionalism with which your present your updates can also help you win future business. Clients want to work with companies that they trust and can rely on to be transparent throughout the construction process - it helps them do their own jobs, plan for future phases and minimises time spent on admin, like payment claims.
So your regular client updates are not to be rushed or overlooked. Consider them as a representation of your service that should inspire trust, maintain good relationships and protect you against losses.
Here’s the 5 key things clients are looking for in your updates:
- Was It Delivered In A Timely Manner?
- Was Everything Done Safely?
- How Does This Compare To The Project Plan?
- Are There Photographs Of The Key Issues?
- Who Was There & What Did They Do?
1. Was It Delivered In A Timely Manner?
An easy way to build credibility and trust with your client is to make sure your updates arrive on time, every time. It’s likely that they will be waiting on your update to inform their own project plan, compliance documentation and stakeholder management. Delivering your report at the same time each week will help them build a routine; they’ll get comfortable working with you and want to continue in the future.
Using a digital report builder such as Sitediary means that your updates can be automatically generated and delivered to your client. It will follow the same template, branding and schedule each week for the ultimate consistency and clarity.
2. Was Everything Done Safely?
Even if there is nothing else of value to report, your update must always answer one fundamental question: Did everyone get off track safely at the end of their shift?
Working on the railway isn’t easy and having boots on ballast always carries some element of risk. Understanding that all works were completed without incident and all of the team have left site safely is a key part of any report - be it internal or external.
Providing this information clearly, concisely and making it available to all stakeholders is essential. It builds confidence in any contractors ability to deliver works safely and in a timely manner.
3. How Does This Compare To The Project Plan?
All of the progress recorded in the update should be contextualised with a clear comparison to the planned works. Your client needs to understand whether there is any difference between the planned and actual, and why, so that they can update their own timeline accordingly.
By providing a summary of key issues mapped against progress, the client can understand the reasons behind any delays and they know exactly what is going on, on site.
With Sitediary you can pre-populate up to 68% of your site records in advance using planned works. Then, the data you collect will show a clear comparison of planned versus actual progress ready to be shown to the client. In the case of any discrepancies you’ll be armed with the crucial context about why all of the works may not have been completed as planned; including access problems, unexpected discoveries such as underground cables, or resource allocation.
4. Are There Photographs Of The Key Issues?
A picture is worth a thousand words. Make your clients job easier and help them visualise exactly what is happening on site by documenting works with photos and videos. Embed your photos into your client report to build a full story of what happened on shift.
Your planned vs actual progress should be substantiated with photos of key issues. Without them, there’s no proof of what happened or why. In the long term your client relationships will be stronger if you substantiate delays up front and remove the risk of drawn out disputes. You’ll maintain your reputation for integrity and clients will remember you for future projects.
5. Who Was There & What Did They Do?
Finally, each client report should list the key staff on the project and what their role entails. Your client will have their main point of contact already but reinforcing this and providing a summary of who is working on the project will strengthen their confidence in you as a contractor.
A list of key staff members also ensures that compliance needs are met and, if necessary, the right people can be contacted if an issue arises in the future.
In conclusion, regular and effective communication with clients is crucial in ensuring the success of any construction project, particularly in rail infrastructure where safety is of utmost importance.
By providing timely, safe, and transparent client updates that address key issues on site and compare progress to the project plan, contractors can build trust with clients and improve their chances of winning future business.
Additionally, using digital report builders like Sitediary and Raildiary can help streamline the reporting process and ensure consistency and clarity in communication.
By following these best practices, contractors can protect themselves against losses and maintain strong relationships with clients.