Back to 2006, 10 years ago when I still worked with one construction material producer, the consumer insight research was conducted to find out what would be the future benefit from supplier and the contractor that the consumer which mostly dealt with the construction of their home and small shophouse both new built or renovation, would seek for. You know what, the money was not a major issue. The result identified 3 key concerns that the responders required from the upcoming product, service or technology from the industry including; (1.) Standard, (2.) Time, and (3.) Cleanliness.
I believe these is what you can expected and also they are the quality that most of the building material suppliers and building contractor currently offer to the customer. But if you look back 10 years ago, what did customer can expected from their contractor? Anyway, I would like to elaborate the detail of each points from the research.
Standard – There was a mix quality that create the good standard for the construction. But somehow, the research revealed the perception of the standard from consumer's perspective to the construction business in almost everything that they had to deal with which most of responders were looking for the standard workers. Yes, the workmanship was the key to this issue. They needed the best building that was exactly right to the design with minimum fix after the building was finished. On the other hand, they were looking for the specialist who know what they were doing. they also wanted the specialist that talked to them nicely and dressed proper which reflected to the trust that the consumer could perceive from the look and talk.
Time – It was not only how fast the contractor could finish their works, but also the punctual of the construction process was the major complain from most of responders. From the research, customer experienced many kind of delay such as the roof installation, the plumbing and sanitation work, and the electricity which at the end, would effect overall schedule which sometime was crucial to them. The responders also felt uncomfortable along the time that saw the construction unfinished or have no idea when it was going to be done.
Clean – the messiness of the construction site had disturbed the customer a lot. The responders revealed their pain from the dirt, debris, soil, bad smell, polluted water and worker's garbage. Also they complaint about how they had to clean the site and the building after the worker finished and left the site with loads of waste. Also the customer needed the contractor to minimized the construction boundary as small as possible which they believed it would reduce the dirt and waste from the construction too.
There were also some minor concerns according to the research including Safety and Cost, but you can see that the concerns from the retail customer are more “emotional” and “communication” which are difficult to manage. However, this obviously show that you can make money out of this.
So, what we can do according to this result? If you are the contractor, now it is time for your team to suit up with good uniform, learn to talk nice or hire some pretty face to handle your customer. Probably same as the AE in the advertising agency which the creatives and designers are not communicable. Then, you must choose the supplier wisely, better propose or recommend your customer for the product with the pre-fabrication technology or with good service both installation and maintenance. Most of all, you must manage your site supervisor and workers to work with the clean and professional practice.
There is an example for giving you an idea, the road fixer of the BMA. I saw them fixing a pot hole with well dress 3 workers, working with instant pre-packed asphalt; one man poured the asphalt to the hole, another two worked to compacted and flatten the surface which those small hole were filled within 5 minute ,and those guys moved to fix another hole.
There must be a better case that you can think of. But the most important thing is what you can offer to your customer. I believe that it is not the very high hurdle for you to jump over. Once you can make it, you will create yourself a big gap from your competitor. And you will gain a good customer will pay for the better work than thing only the money to safe.