Ask clixifix: “How can we manage our sub-contractor’s approach to aftercare?”

Nomination of incorrect trades or sub-contractors by team members can cause confusion, delays, and ultimately frustration for homeowners and clients.  In this edition of Ask clixifix we’re taking a look at sub-contractor management and effectively managing the process of defect and repair handling.  A common issue we’ve experienced as both Homeowners and Principal Contractors is incorrect nomination of sub-contractors.  Without a clear and regimented process in place, it can be easy to nominate the wrong person.  Imagine the frustration from a homeowner when a plumber arrives at a property to respond to a repair but is then told that it has nothing to do with him as he didn’t fit that particular appliance and that it was actually an electrician that was responsible.

In the past, a list pre-registered sub-contractors would be collated by a QS, printed out, laminated and held somewhere for the aftercare team to refer to.  But what happens when that list is lost or if the keeper of the register is sick?  Mistakes happen.  Mistakes are costly on any development so reducing their frequency is a sure-fire way to reduce costs.  When clixifix developed our sub-contractor nomination functionality, it was with this critical issue in mind.

So what can you do to minimise mistakes and streamline your processes?

At the core of this issue is the fact that very few aftercare teams have a centralised system.  Or if it is a centralised system, it’s a giant lever-arch file or collation of offline spreadsheets that can only be updated by one team member at any one time.  This is problematic for many reasons; principally if a team member is away on leave or sick, who has access to the file?  What happens when a sub-contractor emails a team member with an issue but that team member is away?

The rise of technology has enabled levels of collaboration previously unseen in construction.  Cloud based systems are now available that facilitate more efficient management aftercare processes.  In the next few paragraphs, we’ll outline some of the functions you should look for when considering a centralised system for your team.

cloud solution

 

Database of appropriate contractors

The first thing you should be looking for is that the system facilitates an active database of eligible contractors.  This is essentially the list of approved sub-contractors / trades that was previously created by your QS.  This functionality significantly reduces the chances of an incorrect nomination as sub-contractors can only be selected if they’re pre-approved.  This is usually populated via a drop down menu.

cloud database

Emails and notes all in one place

It can be immensely frustrating for an aftercare team member to try and find out what has actually happened when an appointment is missed by a sub-contractor, especially when there are multiple members on a team.  When communication is taking place either via phone or email, it’s difficult to maintain accurate records of what has been said or done as not everyone has access to each other’s inbox or phone.  By using a system that automatically adds emails to relevant plots or keeps a record of phone conversations, any team member can check in and see the history of communication allowing them to take control and address the issue at hand.

AC2 pic3

Digital Sign-off

Digital signature capture technology streamlines approvals and eliminates the need to chase residents and clients when confirming works are completed to an acceptable standard.  This feature saves significant time and money allowing operatives to ensure that all work carried out has been delivered to an acceptable standard and that all relevant stakeholders have ‘signed off’ on the work.  Instant authorisation frees up resources so that the next task can be assigned, completed and authorised in the most efficient way possible.

digital signoff

By centralising your systems in a cloud-based environment, you’re minimising the risk of error whilst maintaining a clear audit trail should you need to re-visit any particular issues.  This also allows for much simpler management of your sub-contractors whilst also allowing your operatives more time to spend taking care of your homeowners.

If you’re interested in finding out what implementing a centralised customer care system looks like, watch our introductory video below, visit our website (www.clixifix.com) or get in touch with one of our team members on 01388 824958.

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