Tuesday May 26, 2020
I’ve received numerous compliments lately on how prepared we seem to be for the challenges of the pandemic. Several clients with projects either in design or underway have commented on how we haven’t missed a beat. I would love to tell you that I planned for a moment like this, but that would be a stretch. What is true is that we have learned a lot working with clients who live far away from their new home construction project. Those lessons, and the systems we have adopted for working with remote clients, are serving us very well during this challenge. We owe this to our talented, dedicated staff, who relentlessly follow procedures, and to our online construction management/communications portal. The two together combine to make the perfect home building experience.
Our preparation to bridge the communication gap between our staff and our clients began several years ago. We realized that building a superior home was only part of our job. If our construction process left our client in the dark, it didn’t matter how well we built homes; we would still have an unhappy client. The more we grew, the more difficult communication became. Our solution had to be one that brought all conversations together in one place where our clients, team members and trade partners could view them in an organized fashion. It took a while, but once we found the right technology solution, we dove in with both feet, and it’s been an enormous success. Our clients view their schedule, selections, options, photos, construction log and project finances all in one place. They can ask questions, make selections, approve change orders and chat with our team or trades from their email, computer, tablet, or phone. Nothing gets missed. Endlessly searching emails for comments or digging through files to find selections is over - everything about our projects is in one place and accessible to our customers, staff, and trade partners. Through our online portal, our clients have direct contact with our vendors and trade partners with the click of a button, so understanding products and details is at their fingertips. Our clients see a scaled-down version of the exact schedule that our Project Managers use to run their projects, which provides total transparency as to where they are with their project schedule. Even before Covid-19, our team provided our clients with weekly, if not daily, job logs and photographs of their projects and conducted many meetings and site walkthroughs online, so overcoming social distancing challenges has been easy.
We are also using Microsoft Teams to keep our team feeling cohesive and to ease collaboration while we are working from home. The features of Teams make collaborating so much easier – I suspect I will still use Teams extensively even when we are all back in the office!
Our Seven Easy Steps to a New Custom Home and our communication portal make building a Turnstone Custom Home simple, whether you are local or live far away. Of course, when this is all over, we will still take a good old face-to-face meeting over a computer screen any day! I really miss current and past clients just dropping in to say “Hi”, or surprising our staff with donuts. Hopefully, it won’t be long until we can re-open the office to visitors. Until then the years we have spent honing our online processes and our technological prowess will continue to pay off in ways we never could have imagined.
Harvey Ryan, CEO